Sarah Gish recently took her eight-year-old to visit Houston Public Library’s revamped Central Library. They headed for the children’s area, where there were kids playing the Wii. “You can’t do the Wii,” she remembers telling him. “You need to read.” Problem was, she says, “We were trying to read, and we kept getting shuffled around because people were trying to play the Wii.”
She wasn’t pleased.
“I am upset that there’s Wii in the library because I think it detracts from the main purpose of libraries,” she tells, Hair Balls, “which is to encourage people to read books.”
So she wrote a letter to the library and forwarded it to her friends, encouraging them to do the same if they were “disturbed like [her].”
“I enjoyed the Central Library opening festivities but was shocked about the presence of the Wii gaming system in the children’s area,” she wrote. “In my opinion, there is nothing ‘educational’ about the Wii games so they don’t seem appropriate for a library setting…Therefore I am asking that the Wii systems be taken out of the children’s area – and if possible, the library.”
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Gish says another possibility is moving the Wiis to the teen area.
She also wants the Central Library to look to the new Looscan neighborhood branch as an example. “I visited the beautiful new Looscan branch recently and was pleased to find that it also had some new technology – the pod chairs with music – but no video games,” she wrote. “Perhaps there could be more of your comfy reading chairs in the children’s area at the Central Library instead of the gaming systems? I feel certain that there is a way to mirror our techno-gadget society without dethroning the book.”
A library spokesperson wasn't available to comment, but we'll update when she gets back to us from playing with her Wii. Or whatever she's doing.
– Cathy Matusow