We have thousands of video games for checkout at the Library!

With the new movie Pixels coming out on July 24th in theaters, we thought iMan and young boy with video game controllers smilingt would be a great time to let you know that we have thousands of video games for checkout at the library.  We have games for the most recent consoles: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS. We also have games for these slightly older (but still great!) consoles: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation 3. If you still love your PlayStation 2, we have games for it, too. If you like PC games, we have some games for checkout, but newer games for PC are sold mostly through online services like Steam.

For each library card, up to five video games can be checked out for three weeks and renewed two times as long as no one else is waiting. Games that are rated “M” for mature may only be checked out on an adult’s library card. Is there a video game you’d really like to play, but we don’t have it? Ask us to buy it! Go to Recommend a Purchase and we might buy it for you to borrow. Please remember we don’t buy online and multiplayer-only games or games that require an online account.

I’m sure you’ve heard that video games can be bad for you, but scientists are also arguing for the benefits of playing video games. From the Huffington Post article, 9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You, scientists find that gaming can help increase the “areas of the brain responsible for spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills in the hands.” Further, playing video games can improve the “ability to discern subtle changes in the brightness of an image.” This means gaming can actually improve your eyesight. A third way video games can be beneficial is to treat depression. A group of children assigned to play a specially-designed game had a 44% complete recovery rate versus only 26% that had traditional one-on-one counseling.

In addition to having video games for check out. We also have numerous programs with video games. Always check our monthly newsletter, Discover BCPL, to catch what’s coming.

For children, we have an Android tablet with games appropriate for children that can be played while you’re visiting the Main library in the Youth Services 2nd floor area.

For teens, we have several recurring events:

FLORENCE BRANCH
Teen Cafe (Middle/High School)
Wednesdays at 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Drop in for gaming, Internet, snacks & more! Xbox 360, WiiU, NES, and PCs are available. The teens are currently playing Super Smash Bros. for WiiU almost exclusively. Also, Minecraft computers are set up during this time.

Teen Night (Middle/High School)
Last Friday of the Month from 6-8 p.m.
Want to hang out after the library closes? Now is your chance! Pizza, games & more! Xbox 360, WiiU, NES, and PCs are all made available — most of them play Super Smash Bros. for a good majority of the night. Also, Minecraft computers are available.

Teen Gaming: Super Smash Bros. for WiiU (Middle/High School)
Thursday, September 17, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Come and test your might against other Super Smash Bros. fans in a double elimination, no items tournament. Sign-in at 5:30, matches start at 6 p.m. Registration required. If you just like to watch Nintendo characters fight it out, you’re welcome to come watch!

WALTON BRANCH
Teen Gaming (Middle/High School)
Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m.
This starts again in September when school is back in session. Drop in for gaming, snacks & more! Enjoy Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe on the Xbox 360.

MAIN LIBRARY
Pokemon (grades K-12)
4th Monday of the Month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Gotta catch ’em all! Bring your own deck or Nintendo DS; no trading. English cards only. Registration encouraged. Many teens bring their DS making this a great program for gamers.

Oh, and, by the way, if you really like the Pixels movie, here’s some of the games that have the video game characters that show up there:

Pac-man and the Ghostly Adventures for many consoles

Namco Museum DS (has Galaga and Pac-man)

Donkey Kong Country series for Nintendo consoles (Did you know Donkey Kong has his own children’s movies?)

Midway Arcade Origins (has Joust; also Joust 2 for the completionist)

Centipede Infestation for 3DS

–David

David Birkhead fixes computers at the library. David began playing video games when there was an entire console you hooked to your television just to play Pong. His video gaming dream is to one day get a perfect score in Pitfall II: Lost Caverns for the Atari 2600.

Let’s Hear It For Audiobooks!

Everyone loves to hear a good story.  Luckily, your library offers many ways to enjoy all kinds of stories.  We have books on CD, books that can be downloaded to your smartphone, tablet or MP3 player and Playaways (like an MP3 player containing one book title). For kids, we have Playaway Views, where kids can watch and listen on a player that is just the right size for little hands.

June is National Audiobook Month, so if you haven’t listened to an audiobook yet, this is a perfect timWoman listening to music with headphones at the parke to give one a try.  Take one on vacation, to make the travel time go faster. Commuters love audiobooks, as the time spent commuting just seems to fly by. Audiobooks are great for multi-tasking. People like to listen to them while crafting, gardening, cooking, exercising, and cleaning.

Listening is so much fun and easy to do, more people are listening to books all the time. Overdrive, the supplier used by our digital download service, Kentucky Libraries Unbound, reported that audiobook usage went up 38% last year!

Why do people like audiobooks? It is such a pleasure to be read to, harkening back to the original tradition of oral storytelling. Excellent narrators (or readers) can really enrich a story, perhaps using accents to take you to a different place or time. They add the appropriate level of emotion or tension to a story and bring the personalities of characters to life.  I often find the narrator of an audiobook provides a much better “voice” to a character than I would “hear” in my head while reading a book. Personally, I love audiobooks that feature characters with accents different than my own.  Give me a narrator with a British accent reading an Austen or Dickens novel and I’m in heaven!  In fact, many people find audiobooks help them to better comprehend books with accents or difficult language, like “classics” or Shakespeare.  Studies have shown that people are more likely to stick with something they are listening to, as they can be easily distracted when looking at something.  People with ADD find audiobooks allow them to focus better; and reading a print book while listening to the audiobook version can be very helpful to ESL learners.

Audiobooks can be a great way to get to know a work that, for whatever reason, you haven’t been able to bring yourself to read.  I have always loved nonfiction, but (to my chagrin), I find I sometimes feel too tired to read something that might be considered more challenging. But if I listen to a nonfiction book, I find I can concentrate better; and frankly, I think that I enjoy the book more. Audiobook listeners often find that they are more willing to try different types of books than they would ordinarily read, and are surprised at how much they like the new material.  Audiobooks can be more fun – you can’t “cheat” and look ahead to the end of the book to see how it will end; and not knowing quite when you will reach the end of an absorbing mystery can add an extra thrill.  Listen to a funny audiobook and don’t worry about laughing out loud!

The growing popularity of audiobooks and the shift to digital technology have brought down production costs, allowing book producers to invest in multiple voice audios and some original productions.  More and more books have audio versions, which are being released more quickly than they used to be.  The Audio Publishers Association reported that 6,200 audiobooks were published in 2010. That number jumped to almost 36,000 in 2013. The availability and variety of audiobooks is so exciting!

Audiobooks can hold special appeal to children. Audiobooks motivate kids to want to
read more. Listening to an audiobook while sight reading the same book in print can aid in comprehension and increase reading accuracy. Studies have shown that audiobooks can build and enhance literacy skills such as vocabulary, fluency, pronunciation and phonemic awareness. Audiobooks can help develop critical thinking and active listening skills, which are important in Common Core academic standards. Listening as a family offers opportunities for shared experiences and discussions.

Want to hear a sample of an audiobook; or get some ideas of titles you might enjoy?  Log on to Try Audiobooks.  The American Library Association’s “Listen List” publishes an annual list of what they consider outstanding examples of audios. Find the lists at http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/listenlist. Search audiobook reviews and find more titles read by your favorite narrators on AudioFile magazine’s website http://www.audiofilemagazine.com.  To get the app to download audiobooks (and e-books) from our Kentucky Libraries Unbound service or for technical help, see the “free downloads” section at the bottom of our home page, http://www.bcpl.org.

I hope you will consider trying an audiobook this month.  If you are traveling, let an audio make the time go faster and more enjoyable.  If you’re at the pool or beach, listen while lying down – no worry about sun glare or getting pages wet.  Believe me, audiobooks are worth a listen!

–Julie

Julie Bockstiegel has worked as a Public Service Associate at the Florence branch of BCPL for over seven years. All of her life, people have commented that Julie always has her nose in a book. Now she frequently has her ears in one, too!