So What’s Up With Mindcraft?

First thing I learned: It is Minecraft NOT Mindcraft. When you work in the public library and you see kids obsessed with playing this video game on the library computers you have to stop and wonder.

First, the game has very bad graphics and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what happens on the screen. At my small public library we see kids arrive in packs to play the game and to interact virtually with each other, which is funny because they are usually sitting right next to each other. I admit they can get rowdy sometimes, and a bit loud, and yes, annoying, but I then think that at least they are at the library in a safe environment.

So, what is Minecraft all about? Did you know that Minecraft, since its inception in 2009, is the third most popular video game of all time behind Tetris and Super Mario Brothers? Players create virtual worlds in Minecraft and basically dig holes and create blocks worlds. Our Teen Librarian and Technology Manager recently put together a “Minecraft for Parents,” program to clue moms and dads in a bit about the video game that is currently king of the mountain. We also recently did a Minecraft Party that allowed the kids to stay after hours in the library and get as loud as they wanted and play Minecraft and eat pizza.

So, in my book the jury is still out. I like the fact that the kids are using their imaginations and not virtually blowing each other up, but to be honest it disturbs me that they spend so much time playing a video game while real life is happening all around them–if they could only look up from their glowing digital screens. And in the end that is the real challenge for me at a small library: How do you stay relevant when so much changes so quickly? How do you balance the traditional views and roles of the public library with what it has become and is becoming? It is a challenge for us all but that is why I like the small public library.

Jim Gill
Dover Public Library

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “So What’s Up With Mindcraft?

  1. Tim Hauck

    Hey-good job learning more about this popular game! A good majority of our kids are playing this game and even reading strategy books about it. I like your idea of inviting kids in after hours to play the game (with appropriate adult supervision, of course), but being in a public school, I need to find out if this is something I can do. I was thinking of doing this as a reward (i.e. most books read, writing a report on a bigger book or a type of book they don’t normally read, etc.)

    Good luck,
    Tim Hauck
    Bush Library

  2. Dan

    playing a video game while real life is happening all around them- as a librarian and gamer I ask- what is the difference between a well constructed and entertaining novel and a video game of parallel quality? Some of my best experiences in”real” life are the books I’ve read or the games I’ve played.

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