In the age of Internet and video games, libraries must compete for teenagers attention, Nate Burnard believes.
To bring young adults through his doors, the Allen County Public Library childrens librarian is prepared to being the battle to them.
And Saturday afternoon that fight took the form of Super Smash Brothers Brawl – a popular game for the Nintendo Wii system. The game allows players to pit characters like Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog against one another in hand-to-hand combat.
Burnard drew 36 teenage gamers to the double-elimination tournament. The library provided the games, the Nintendo Wiis and the televisions, all the players had to do was show up.
This is a generation thats grown up gaming. Its part of their lives, he said. If we want to be a part of their lives, we have to offer that, too.
The Fall Brawl was the second video gaming event at the library. The first, last summer, drew about 100 people.
Increasingly, libraries are turning to video games and media beyond books to draw young adults and teens who are hooked on the Internet. Libraries across the nation now offer gaming leagues that allow players in different parts of the country to compete against each other, Burnard said.
It helps us keep the library as a community place more than just a place for books, he said.
Braxton White, a 17-year-old Paul Harding High School student with lightning-fast fingers, said he never would have set foot in the library without such an event.
Why go all the way to the library for information, Braxton reasons.
Everythings online, you can just stay at home, he said.
Braxton remained undefeated through the tournament, winning the whole shebang and a $50 gift card for his trouble.
Will he be coming back to the library?
If they keep putting on video games, he says.