I am very pleased to announce that all Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) branches now offer video games! You can request and borrow games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
Video games are a great fit for the public library.
You -- our customers -- want media. Whether you borrow DVDs, stream Kanopy, or listen to downloadable audiobooks, we want to help you access media. We believe our library services should reflect what our customers are interested in.
Video games are for play – but play can be educational. Video games help develop "digital literacy," the ability to use information and communication technologies, and also "visual literacy," the ability to understand and interpret images.
This may surprise you, but playing video games can help improve reading skills – especially for reluctant readers. Many games require a lot of reading, and the interactive story building helps develop reading comprehension. Games can also help develop decision-making and critical thinking skills. We all learn best when we enjoy what we're learning. Video games can be a way to sneak more reading practice into your child's day.
A video game collection also reflects VIRL's strong belief in access for all. Video games are expensive, and rental stores no longer exist. As with books, computers, and internet access, the Library helps even the playing field a bit, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy recreation options that they might not be able to afford.
VIRL's video game collection has something for everyone – games that the whole family can play together, and games that are intended for mature audiences. We don't believe it's the Library's place to tell people what they can or cannot read or watch. When it comes to children, that's a job best left to parents and caregivers.
Every video game sold in Canada has an "ESRB" rating, to help parents and caregivers decide what's appropriate. ESRB is the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the video game industry organization that provides information about the content of games. The ESRB rating system was developed with input from experts in child development.
If you're concerned about inappropriate content of games, and you're not sure how to interpret the ratings, we're there to help.
You can borrow video games for one week, and if no one's waiting for it, you can renew it two times.
If you do borrow a video game, we want to hear from you. You'll find comment cards in every game. Let us know what you think!