A Wiilly Good Idea for Libraries…?

Libraries (whether they’re FE, HE or Public libraries) all face the increasing challenge of engaging their audience in competition with a multitude of other information sources available to users.

According to recent government statistics, around 70% of households in the UK now have access to Broadband.  Add to that, the rise in internet access via mobile devices, with current estimates ranging between 7.2 million and 17.4 million users in the UK alone.  Of course, the library continues to play a vital role in providing access to digital information for those without any other means of access, as well as to the vast range of media that information is also available in today, which leads me nicely on to the point of this article…

Libraries have always been quick to provide a range of media types to cater to the diverse needs of their users, so what about exploring the world of modern gaming to convey information and encourage community engagement?

Libraries can be places of fun and the use of the Wii specifically in libraries is becoming more common than what you might think.  Sure, we still need quiet areas where people can study in peace, but does that mean to say there shouldn’t be a time and a place in the library where people can’t enjoy the fun side of learning as well?

Wii Sports

People learning how to get a hole in one on Wii Sports golf

(Image available under the creative commons licence, taken from Flickr)

The Online Education Database has a really helpful article detailing fifty ideas on how the Wii could be used in a library context.  Whether it’s using the Wii to introduce people to reading, bringing geography to life by using the Wii’s ‘News and Weather’ channels (an interactive globe at your fingertips!), or making use of the ‘Everyone Votes’ channel to find out what your users think of your library.

Examples also exist around the region, during Wimbledon Leeds Public Library had some great success using Wii Tennis to engage a whole cohort of young patrons who might otherwise have never stepped foot in the library. And if you work in a specialist Health Library you might be interested to know that the Department of Health has even given the seal of approval to the Wii Fit Plus.  For those who haven’t had a play on this, it’s a great way to introduce people to concepts like BMI, centre of gravity and weight management as well as playing an integral role in physiotherapy.  How many specialist Health Libraries are out there by the way, looking for a way to engage users?  Just a thought…

Also, there’s an increasing amount of research being undertaken to evaluate the Wii’s potential to support disabled students in education.

Okay, I admit, it’s not going to be for everyone (still, what is?), but if you can engage a few more people in the library and possibly break some of the old library stereotypes down into the bargain, then it’s got to be worth a go hasn’t it?

Wiimember, you’re never too old for a bit of silliness.  Sorry, that’s a terrible pun to end on, terrible…

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