Wellington City Council is trialling video games in six of its libraries in a bid to get children's noses into books - and the community is embracing it.

Gaming consoles have been set up in the Johnsonville, Karori, Kilbirnie, Miramar, Cummings Park and Central libraries.

The games include Dirt Rally, Fifa and Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Library and community spaces manager Chris Hay said the gaming programme was designed to encourage more people into libraries.


"We want to get them in the door and that gives a chance, ultimately, to expose them to a reading culture.

"It's not about a total change from books to fully digital, it's actually about finding a hook, a way to connect with young people who are non-readers."

Hay said video games could also help develop media literacy and teach children to be creative and work together.

Parental permission would be required before children could play the G and PG-rated games, he said.

The consoles, games and headsets cost about $1000 per library.

Amy Christie was with her 2-year-old daughter at Kilbirnie's library and said she did not have a problem with the games.

9 May, 2017 11:28am
3 minutes to read
4 May, 2017 11:01am
4 minutes to read

"Some people can't afford it so it's good that they can come here and play with their friends and not be left out."

Youth mentor Uaea Apuula said it offered a safe space for children to play.

"It's nice and warm in here coming into the winter months and it keeps kids off the street."

Victoria University library and information management professor Anne Goulding said she was surprised to see the consoles in Karori's library when they were first installed.

"I saw this huge screen and I was with my kids and they just gravitated towards it immediately."

But Goulding said that overall it was a good idea to have the games and people needed to remember that libraries were no longer a place to "hush people up".

"There is a certain noise level that is acceptable. I think they just have to make that clear and the [children] have to be respectful of the people around them."

Goulding said video games could be educational even if the benefits were not immediately obvious.

"They can help problem solving, help people to multi-task, they can develop parts of the brain."

Hay said while it was a new idea for Wellington, Christchurch and places overseas had been doing it for years.

The council will review the trial in July.