Category Archives: Advice

Nintendo 3DS & Libraries

On Friday the always amazing Carl Cross of Derbyshire Libraries sent an e-mail to the Lib Gaming UK mailing list. You can join the list here – go on you know you want to!

It was a great post and naturally I wanted to share it, and since Carl gave permisison to have it rebroadcast on Teen Librarian, here it is in its entirety! Enjoy:


Last week Nintendo launched its glasses free 3D handheld the 3DS.

There are at least two other librarians on this list with one /waves/ and probably a few more.

For those of you who don’t have one it has an inbuilt social gaming feature called Street Pass. The idea is that your 3DSes send information to each other as you pass unknowingly in the street. Hence the name.

At the moment the information is your Mii (avatar) and a few game specific features such as downloading your best laps in racing game Ridge Racer as a ‘ghost’ for the other player to beat. Streetfighter takes a similar approach by having your team of trophies battle each other for fun, profit and prizes.

There’s loads of fun stuff built into the 3DS that encourages social interaction from early JRPG-alike StreetPass Quest to the utterly mad face shooting ARG Face Raiders.

All cool stuff but what has it got to do with libraries?

Not everywhere is as population dense as Tokyo or London or Manchester and your chances of meeting another 3DS owner in the wild are sometimes slim.

Some enterprising folk are using the power of social media to hook up with others in real life to swap data and to game. All you need is a location and a bit of advertising, preferably in an online space like the Meet Mii Facebook page.

See what it’s got to do with libraries now?

It needn’t stop at that of course. While only one of the launch lineup of games offers online multiplayer (Streetfighter IV for the curious) others have local multiplayer as long as both players have a copy of the game. We’d be offering ourselves up as a venue to find other players.

Of course there are problems with this idea. As far as I can see two biggies and the usual ones about noise:

Biggie 1: It’s potentially a shop window for potential muggers – the 3DS is an expensive piece of kit and if they know there’s a whole load of people with one in their pocket they may well take advantage.

Biggie 2: It’s no good trying to limit this to a given age group. If you’re going to do it at all it must be for all comers which means parents need to be warned. It’s a good opportunity to talk about online security in general of course.

I’m considering trying this in a couple of our libraries and see what happens. I will also be starting a regular Wii club in the near future so I expect that to form part of that too.

Anyone else tempted? Can anyone else see any major problems with it that I’ve missed at this stage of a Friday?

Simplified Dungeons & Dragons

Over the past few years I have spoken to a number of D&D and gaming fans that work in Libraries, without exception they have stated that they would love to set up gaming sessions in Libraries, the only problem they have encountered is the timescales involved in setting up and running campaigns.

Now thanks to BoingBoing I have found a website that has provided a ‘how to’ guide on running a D&D introductory campaign for eight year olds. The campaign can be tweaked for older players in libraries but overall the simplified rules and character creation makes it easier to start with beginners.

2) Kids chose which color dice they want and which miniature will be their hero, both of which they got to keep as “goodie bags” from the party. We didn’t have them do any further character creation (all heroes had the same stats behind the screen) except for name. Lots of the kids who hadn’t played before had problems coming up with a name, so I asked if they wanted to roll for one. I didn’t actually have a table, I just used the time they were rolling the dice to think them up.

3) The scenario was that the heroes set forth from their stronghold to explore the surrounding wilderness in search of magical items to claim and Pokemon to capture. We had the kids construct the wilderness using Heroscape hexes, and the stronghold using wooden Kapla blocks

The campaign was played over two and a half hours. For full details go here:

What Made for a Successful D&D Birthday Party

So you have had a complaint about a Graphic Novel or Manga title?

The first thing to do is don’t panic, the second thing is DO NOT WITHDRAW THE TITLE! Seriously do not withdraw it – this is important.

If you are the person that selects the Graphic Novel and Manga titles for your branch this is a run-down of how to cover yourself and your library service from complaints by parents, teachers and anyone who may have reason to complain about what their children have been reading.

1. Know your stock – you should personally have held and looked at every Graphic Novel and Manga item in your library. This will only take a few minutes, unless you have a large collection and need to go through everything, but once that is done all you have to do is grab every new title as it comes in. You do not have to read everything (but you can if you want to) leaf through the pages and look for any nudity, extreme violence or swearing. If you cannot find any then your collection is not doing its job.

2. When you find books that have swearing, violence or nudity make sure that is has a guidance label (Teen/YA, Adult Stock, or GN) on the spine. Most manga titles have age banding on the back cover, these vary from publisher to publisher but they are prominent.

3. Do not keep your Manga and GN collection in the Children’s Library, Have it between the Adult & Teen collections (if you do not have a Teen Collection you should start thinking about one). There are exceptions – a number of libraries keep The Simpsons, Tokyopop’s Cine-Manga and the Alex Rider GN’s in their Picture Books for older Readers collections.

4. Double-check the labels of the books, it is possible for some to creep through.

5. Start reading manga – this will help with stock development knowledge, suggesting titles to readers etc

6. Get to know the readers themselves – they know more than you do and are usually more than happy to suggest titles or discuss genres and series.

7. Get to know your local comic shop as above they should know what they are selling, be able to suggest stock and also (importantly) give a discount

If anyone has advice on preempting complaints or has dealt with a sticky situation and would like to share it please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.