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Fort Worth Library powers up with video game lending

Book Stack On Wood Desk And Blurred Bookshelf In The Background

For the first time, library patrons can grab some video games along with their regular book pickup.

If you have a Fort Worth Public Library card, you can now play video games at home for free.

Borrowers can now pick up games for the Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch at any of the system’s 17 branches. The process is the same as checking out a book.

Library spokesperson Theresa Davis said a collection like this isn’t common in the region.

“To the best of our knowledge, [in] larger library systems in North Texas, we’re one of the first ones to do it,” said Davis.

Offering this new service will hopefully get more people through the doors, she added, where they can discover what else the library has to offer – whether it’s books, movies, WiFi hotspots, or backyard sports kits.

“Somebody comes in for one thing that they hear about, and then they get dazzled,” Davis said. “That’s really exciting for us.”

Borrowers can check out two video games at a time. The loan period is three weeks, but that can be extended if no one else is waiting for the game, Davis said.

The library has stocked more than 1,000 titles for all ages, across a variety of genres. The collection includes games from classic series like The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros., as well as newer favorites like Persona 5 Royal and The Last of Us Part II.

The Fort Worth Public Library isn’t the first library in Texas to lend out video games. Libraries in McAllen and Longview offer them, too.

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Public Library Association president Melanie Huggins said she doesn’t know of any data tracking how many libraries around the country lend out video games, but she knows libraries have been doing it for years, including the one she runs in South Carolina.

“It's all about access,” Huggins says. “Rural communities, maybe communities where there's not as much disposable income, where kids don't have the ability to download games to their consoles or use them in that way, I think you'll see more use and popularity there.”

About 26% of libraries have consoles where people can play video games in the library, according to the Public Library Association’s 2020 Public Library Technology Survey.

Davis with the Fort Worth Public Library said the video game collection will grow. Librarians will pick up more of what’s popular and take recommendations from the public, just like they do for books.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Tarrant County accountability reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.