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<p>I'm not sure where this fits, but since we're homeschoolers and this doesn't involve public school, I'll start here!</p>
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<p>We went to a library branch we haven't been to in a while today, and in the children's section there was a computer with games on it right in the middle.  Of course, my kids ran right to it and that's all they wanted to do.  Other kids there (and my kids) were all jostling for turns, and our whole trip became all about managing turns on the computer and trying to figure out the games, which were ridiculous.  (push all the keys to make music, push the shift keys to move the screen around, etc)  No one was reading books, and even when parents tried to, all the kids were just craning their heads around trying to see the computer.</p>
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<p>(As an aside, I try to strike a balance with video games, my kids are neither totally restricted and starved for them, nor addicted or play them every day.  They do Starfall once every couple weeks, and play on our iphones a few times a week, and they watch an hour or so of tv nearly every day.  We don't have nor have my kids ever seen playstation, wii, gameboys, or any of the other video games out there.)</p>
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<p>So I brought up my concern with the librarian and manager of the library.  They kept saying "but the games are <em>educational!! they teach kids how to read!!"</em>  and the community requested them, and that in that particular neighborhood many families didnt have computers and the library was their only opportunity.  Of course I fully support computers being in libraries for those who don't otherwise have access, and kids of all socioeconomic levels being computer literate!  But they kept acting like having computer games was a necessity and these poor kids would never get to play games otherwise.  The schools around here DO have computer labs and kids as young as 3 use computers as part of the curriculum. </p>
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<p>So what am I missing?  Is playing computer games a critical part of children's educational development?  So much that they need to be prominently displayed in a library?  My assumption is that the majority of kids get too much screen time already, and what they need is more time reading and doing non-video activities!  Maybe I'm old, but I thought BOOKS and READING TO KIDS helped them learn to read?!  We won't be going back to that branch- I'd rather have my kids excited about choosing books (which they normally are) than fighting over computer games and staring at a screen.</p>
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<p>Anyway...just a rant.  If I'm totally off base please feel free to put me in my place!</p>
 

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<p>I completely hear ya on this one! I live in a community where most everyone has a computer in the home but yet the children's section of our library has 8 computers.  When we first moved here we used to let the kids play for a few minutes but it became such a battle to get them to look at the books that I finally put my foot down....NO computer time at the library, whatsoever.  I, too, let them play games at home (educational & not) so why at the library??  It took a while but they finally don't even ask for it anymore.  I've never even thought about talking to the staff about my frustration with the computers, though.  Being homeschoolers, we're always there during the day with all the 2 year olds so the computer craziness isn't so apparent.   </p>
 

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<p>I SOOOO hear you! Where we used to live, the computers were RIGHT in the middle of the kid's section and all the kids headed straight for them when they came in. It was the same as at your library--you almost *never* saw kids with books. I made a stink about it with the staff, and all I got was info about all the focus groups that had asked for computers computers computers. Sadly, we ended up avoiding the library--because we never did any actual reading there. Either DH or I had to check out books by ourselves and bring them home.</p>
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<p>We moved a few months ago, and I did a little dance of joy when I realized the computers were way off in the back of the children's section. We've been there probably 10 times, and my DD has never asked about them. Honestly, I don't understand why they can't have them there but minimize them and give the emphasis to the books.</p>
 

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<p>i SOOOO agree with you.  my library only has 2, but they are RIGHT smack dab in your face before you even get to the books.  My kids go in excited about books, but see those and forget all about it.  I do a happy dance when other kids are using them, because then they stare for a few minutes and remember books, but if they are empty... forgetaboutit!</p>
 

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<p>The computers are often within the sight line of the librarian so she can keep an eye on them.  That often does make them central.</p>
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<p>Computers are vital to the library I work at.  I kid you not - half the people who come into the library (and almost all the teens) do so to use the computer. I know it bugs you, and you have my sympathy, but the pros outweigh the cons by a huge amount in my area.</p>
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<p>Moreover, computer literacy is essential in ordering books from the catalogue.  People (including children) who order books from the catalogue themselves take out more books than non-catalogue users.</p>
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<p>Lastly, not all libraries are laid out the same.  If you have multiple branches, I suggest you go check out a few - some may be set out in a way that does not attract attention to the computers.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kathymuggle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280634/comupter-games-at-the-library-is-it-just-me#post_16060994"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The computers are often within the sight line of the librarian so she can keep an eye on them.  That often does make them central.</p>
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<p>Computers are vital to the library I work at.  I kid you not - half the people who come into the library (and almost all the teens) do so to use the computer. I know it bugs you, and you have my sympathy, but the pros outweigh the cons by a huge amount in my area.</p>
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<p>Moreover, computer literacy is essential in ordering books from the catalogue.  People (including children) who order books from the catalogue themselves take out more books than non-catalogue users.</p>
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<p>Lastly, not all libraries are laid out the same.  If you have multiple branches, I suggest you go check out a few - some may be set out in a way that does not attract attention to the computers.</p>
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<p><br>
I hear what you're saying, but our children's section has two banks of computers.  One is for programs and internet usage and the other is just games.  They have Sonic, Blues Clues, etc.  And,yes, there are 6 of them.  I don't have a problem with computer games at all, but I don't let my kids do that at the library and they are always disappointed that I won't let them.  I guess it's really up to each family how they want to use or not use them.  I will say that we don't ever read books at the library...we take them home to do that so usually the kids just play with toys while I pick out their books.</p>
 

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<p>Our library has just three computers with games and they're along one wall, still within sight of the librarian but not right in the middle. The library in our old town has the computers right in the middle, hated that.</p>
<p>I have the same issue with toys in the book store. They're always right in the middle and I can barely get dd to keep her hands off of them.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Casha'sMommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280634/comupter-games-at-the-library-is-it-just-me#post_16061189"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I have the same issue with toys in the book store. They're always right in the middle and I can barely get dd to keep her hands off of them.</p>
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Not to go OT but I hate what Barnes and Noble has done, they put a huge toy section right in front of the children's book area. It turns into a fight to get passed the toys and into the books. It was one thing when they just had the train table and some tie in toys, but it's basically turned into a toy store with some books in it.</p>
 

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<p>My kids aren't allowed to use the computer at the library, and every time we go, my 4 yr old throws a fit about it. I spend the entire time we're there seething over this same issue.</p>
 

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<p>At our library, you have to have your own library card and you sign on in half hour increments according to availability.  So there isn't an issue of kids crowding around and jostling for turns.  They aren't in the kid's section but it's a one room library so that isn't saying much.  Computers are certainly an important part of our community's library since so many people here don't have a home computer.</p>
 

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<p>Another thought...many libraries have sign up sheets for computers, to avoid people squabbling over whose turn it is.</p>
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<p>In our library the policy (which is not always enforced, but exists none-the-less) is that it is one user per station.  This is out of privacy concerns and to get accurate stats on how well the computers are being used.</p>
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<p>You might want to check your library's policy - it may very well be that while you cannot do anything about where the computers are or what is on them - but you can do something about kids squabbling over who is next.  Sign up sheets and one user/one computer policies exist for these very reasons.</p>
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<p>I would try talking to the librarian and tell her that you cannot enjoy looking at books with your kids because of the squabbling.  Ask her if there are sign up sheets, etc. If talking does not work a written complaint to the chief librarian may work - it often does in our system. It might help.  Focus on the fact that you and yours cannot enjoy the library due to squabbling - which they will care about.  Good luck!</p>
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<p>Kathy</p>
 

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<p>I totally agree with you, OP. I have always just told my kids, "We don't come to the library to play computer, we come to read." Period. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Super Pickle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280634/comupter-games-at-the-library-is-it-just-me#post_16061808"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I totally agree with you, OP. I have always just told my kids, "We don't come to the library to play computer, we come to read." Period. </p>
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<br><br><p>Do you also discourage participation in programs or using games (such as scrabble) that may be laying about?</p>
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<p>I have to say going to the library but not being allowed to do things other than read (that other kids might be allowed to do) might be discouraging for the kids, and who wants to discourage kids from using the library??????.</p>
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<p>The goal of libraries is not to only promote books - but to promote their entire collection  with the goal of putting information in the hands of users.  Computer literacy is <em>essential</em> in this day and age.  Educational games seem a great way to do this with the young set.</p>
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<p>I agree that the library should have rules in place that decrease squabbling over computers, but that is it.</p>
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<p>Edited to add:  I do support people choosing not to allow their kids on computers - you are the parents, after all!  I think computers have a strong place in libraries - which is quite different, after all, from whether or not you choose to use them.</p>
 

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<p>I let my kids (5 and 3) play one game at the end as a treat if they read/are read to for the time we are at the library. It makes me sad though because the kids have less friends to read/play with since they are on the computers.   </p>
 

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<p><br>
I've never seen board games at a library, and I think the main point is how the computers distract from the books themselves, rather than some across the board condemnation of computer games.</p>
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<p>But, even if board games were lying about there, they'd likely be less of a draw than a screen--there's something very powerful and addictive about things with a screen. The draw is just too powerful for books to compete.</p>
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<p>Children spend more time looking at screens that doing any other activity other than sleeping (Kaiser Family Foundation found that scary statistic), while reading is ridiculously rare. Given that, it seems prudent for libraries to take computers out of the middle of the kid rooms and let the books shine.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kathymuggle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280634/comupter-games-at-the-library-is-it-just-me#post_16061835"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Super Pickle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280634/comupter-games-at-the-library-is-it-just-me#post_16061808"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I totally agree with you, OP. I have always just told my kids, "We don't come to the library to play computer, we come to read." Period. </p>
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<br><br><p>Do you also discourage participation in programs or using games (such as scrabble) that may be laying about?</p>
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<p>I have to say going to the library but not being allowed to do things other than read (that other kids might be allowed to do) might be discouraging for the kids, and who wants to discourage kids from using the library??????.</p>
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<p>The goal of libraries is not to only promote books - but to promote their entire collection  with the goal of putting information in the hands of users.  Computer literacy is <em>essential</em> in this day and age.  Educational games seem a great way to do this with the young set.</p>
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<p>I agree that the library should have rules in place that decrease squabbling over computers, but that is it.</p>
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<p>Edited to add:  I do support people choosing not to allow their kids on computers - you are the parents, after all!  I think computers have a strong place in libraries - which is quite different, after all, from whether or not you choose to use them.</p>
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<p>Kids who do not have a computer at home would naturally be interested in using the one at the library, and I am glad there is a public place for people to access computers and internet. </p>
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<p>We have a computer at home so there is no real incentive for dd to use it at the library.  If she wanted to I dont think I would mind, though I would not want that to take up all the library time, kwim - I mean if she wanted to use it I would assume that she had a good reasona dn would not be inclined to question it or discourage it.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>rzberrymom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280634/comupter-games-at-the-library-is-it-just-me#post_16062697"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>But, even if board games were lying about there, they'd likely be less of a draw than a screen--there's something very powerful and addictive about things with a screen. The draw is just too powerful for books to compete.</p>
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<p>This seems to be the consensus on this thread, but it's not the case here at all! The children's section has 8 computers; the teen section has 4. There usually are children playing on the computers, but I don't clambering for them. The stats at our neighborhood school are that about half of the kids have computers at their house, so I don't think these are kids who have unlimited access. I see them looking at books all the time. Our children's librarians also have activities every Saturday, so there are usually read-alouds or crafts going on, too. I see a good balance between all of the activities that are available. I don't know how it's been done, but it's how things seem to work there.</p>
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<p>We also have to use library cards to use a computer. Each user gets 30 minutes. With my kids, if we're using library computers, I usually let them have 15 minutes of their time, and they're generally happy with that. Books and computers don't have to be either/or, and I wonder if some of you who say no to library computers and fight the battle every time you visit wouldn't be better off by putting a moderate limit on it.</p>
 

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<p>The computer games at our library do seem to be legitimately educational, and I'm happy to let our kids play them. On the computer's main page, there are sections for Reading, Math, Science, etc, and the games are divided by subject. One of my favorite games there is a body game where you assemble a skeleton.</p>
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<p>We tend to spend about an hour at the library when we go, so my kids have time to read books, pick books to take home, play with the toys in the children's section and play on the computer.</p>
 
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