Gamers ARE Readers

The following are notes from the GLLS 2008 session presented by Lindsey Wesson & Lori Easterwood. The session follows along on the same lines as Kelly Czarnecki's Booklist article from 2007. [Czarnecki, K. (2007b). Books for teen gamers. Booklist, 103(13), 78-79.] Their session is a natural extension to the article. Lindsey and Lori treat games like any other entertainment medium and use those experiences to help patrons find other reading experiences they may enjoy. Their session gave an overview to each of the many different gaming genres and suggested types of books for each genre. But beyond that, they made the important point that gaming is a valuable experience for librarians to understand and apply in their service to the public. Thank you Lindsey and Lori for treating video games like just another valid entertainment medium.


The presentation focused on tying gaming with reading. Just like talking with a patron about the books they enjoy, librarians help them find books that fit their interest. Librarians can take the same approach for pairing games and books.

There are similar elements in games and books:

  • Choices, key moral choices that impact character arc
  • Puzzles / challenges
  • First –person perspective
  • Realism (historical fiction)
  • Historical settings
  • Literary hook
    • think of games as text
    • What are the key plot points

Simulation: Terry Pratchett's Nation

Action / Shooter: Artimus Fowl; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Adventure / RPG: most fantasy novels work; "Horns & Wrinkles" by Joseph Helgerson; "The Inferior" by Peadar O Guilin

Reader's Advisory Skills for Gamers:

  • Prepare
    • Familiarize yourself with gaming lit/press
    • Teen
  • Discover a core collection of books for gamers
    • Gamers are readers wiki
  • Create displays for gaming books
  • Conversation
    • Don't wait for them to talk to you
    • Don't wait for them to tell you are a gamer
    • Don't treat it like a reference interview, it is a conversation
  • Find a fit
    • Aim higher rather than lower
    • Listen to what they've been saying
    • Bright and shinny
    • Books with gaming plots


Gaming Plot books:

  • Epic & Saga
  • Discordia
  • Brainboy and the Deathmaster
  • Heir Apparent
  • Gamer Girl

"The 39 Clues" intersection with books and online interaction

"Cathy's Book" written by game designers

  • Contains phone numbers or websites that add in more content to the overall experience

Lori and Lindsey stated in their opening that they've given this presentation (or versions of it before) and I'm thankful for that. Their mindset that video games are just another entertainment medium is wonderful. The argument is not "books or games" but "books and games." Connecting books to games is a good step in acknowledging that games are just another collection and service we can provide.