The recent unanimous decision by the board of the Elmhurst, Illinois, public library to keep M-rated video games available for checkout has not deterred those who want them removed. In an article on Chicago-area news site mysuburbanlife.com, Jim Schuetz and John Nester say that they and a small group of other residents will continue to push for the games to be banned from the library, “possibly [by] circulating a petition or working with city leaders.”
At a meeting in mid-April, library director Mary Beth Campe and the board members reaffirmed that video games are acquired based on the same criteria as any other library material: positive reviews, patron requests, and availability of funds in the budget. Patrons must be 17 or older to check out M-rated games. Nester, an art professor at Elmhurst College, argues that gaming “involves a mental condition that requires the player to bend his mind towards the will of the game,” but does not explain why adults should not be able to engage in such mental aerobics if they want to.
Schuetz, meanwhile, contends that the library already does not collect AO-rated games (which are exceedingly rare and not licensed by the major console manufacturers), but Campe responds that “I don’t know that it would be something that we wouldn’t carry if there was a game that was popular.” The popularity of the M-rated games, on the other hand, is not in question, as Campe notes that the 129 titles in the collection circulated 2,599 times last year. We once again applaud Campe and the board for opting to serve their entire community of patrons without bias, instead of bowing to the will of a few.
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Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.