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Get Your Head Out of the Hard Deweyfied Earth

In response to this post on The Shifted Librarian a blogger over at The Notebook wrote:

I couldn't help think of that verse, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (Cor. c13 v11)

I’m not completely against games but let’s get a hold of ourselves shall we? Any public library that has money to spend on a ‘gaming librarian’ needs a budget cut.

Oy, I am SO confused: Matthew 18:3 "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." So which is it? Well, it doesn't matter.

I'm about to turn forty, and I'm not a big gamer. I've tried Second Life, which amazes me, but I find it so cool and so time consuming that the combination sorta scares me, so I avoid it most of the time. I have tried WoW (my least favorite and also a bit homophobic if you believe some stories). I am definitely old school in that the only games I really like are Flight Sims and political strategy games. In fact, lately, I have little time for any games. I downloaded the new Flight Simulator X demo but even that demands more time than I have available.

So you might think that I would agree with the post in The Notebook. Well, I don't. I do, however, like the quote he uses. But I read it differently than he does. I think Paul is telling us to give up those things that blind us, keep us from the truth, the reality. We're not talking games here but about opening our eyes to those people who need libraries. We should "get a hold of ourselves". We should be looking at our communities and reaching out and asking them what it is they want and need from us. If you've got schools surrounding your library and the teens there want to come to your library and game then you need to offer games. If that library has a senior residence nearby then perhaps you need a senior outreach librarian, too. In other words, you get your head out of the hard Deweyfied earth and do what's necessary to succeed.

So the writer thinks any library that reaches out to non-traditional groups should have its budget cut? That is exactly the sort of blind childish response that I think Paul was talking about -- not trying your Brussels sprouts simply because they're different and you've never had them before is no excuse once you've grown up. Not reaching out to large parts of your community because you dislike (and misunderstand) "games" is also not right. It may, however, be reason for your replacement with a new and more open-minded library professional.

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