International Games Day @ your library Game on November 19, 2016!

IGD 2016 Registration is open!

Posted on June 17, 2016

Registration for International Games Day 2016 is open!

This year many donations will be managed through this blog. You can subscribe to the blog to receive updates about donations, resources, and information on running a successful event.

You must register to be eligible for donations. Donations are available while supplies last.

Visit the Library Press Kit page for resources to help you promote your event.


Free RPG Day is Saturday, June 18!

Posted on June 13, 2016

Here is a great way to get a new role-playing game (RPG) guide for your library.

Saturday, June 18, 2016 is free RPG Day! This day’s goal is to inspire gamers to play a new RPG by offering new and exclusive RPG quickstart rules and adventure modules. Librarians interested in this day can use the free RPG store locator to find a participating store in their city.  

Visit their website to see a list of the 2016 sponsors.



Games at ALA Annual 2016

Posted on June 9, 2016

Not only does the American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Roundtable (GameRT) manage International Games Day, but they are also active in transforming libraries. GameRT will be bringing its magic to Orlando, but not in the form of wizards. All of this magic is done by librarians from various libraries around the United States.

GameRT will be once again starting off the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibit with a bang by hosting  ALAPlay. This year's event will feature open gaming, publisher demos from Paizo, Mayfair, HABA, Asmodee, Konami, and more. The Unpub area will return again this year as well, with 15 tables of game designers, most local to the Orlando area, showing off their designs. Come try out some handheld games in the digital petting zoo. Not only will this zoo house smaller creatures, such as a PSVita and Nintendo 3DS, but it will also include an Oculus Rift. After exploring the zoo, experience an escape room that blends the best of both the digital and real worlds!

The games don’t end after ALAPlay. GameRT hosts a Gaming Lounge on the exhibit floor in booth 527 with open gaming, scheduled demo games from game publishers attending annual, and a sharing session on Sunday afternoon from librarians exploring and using games in their library spaces. Come see A Winning Game Plan: Using Genre Terms to Enhance Discovery of Tabletop Games; Hybrid Educational Escape Room Experiences; Battling Gamer Grime: Preservation for a Circulating Tabletop Game Collection; Game Making, Playing and Streaming at Your Library on a Budget, Reading and Playing; and NYPLarcade presents Duskers.

The magic doesn’t stop there! Come to the GameRT presentation Saturday afternoon and learn about how Design Thinking is helping the library better understand the needs of gamers. This presentation, led by Mariella Colon and Kristen Edson from the Chicago Public Library, discusses programming that is customized to be popular with different users, specifically millennials. Thomas Knowlton, outreach librarian at the New York Public Library, will present on the NYPLarcade. Created in 2012, the NYPLarcade started as a forum for adult patrons to play and discuss independent, experimental, and thought-provoking games. It has since expanded to include game discussions for tweens and teens and also Twine coding workshops.

On Sunday, GameRT is co-sponsoring Don’t Just Roll the Dice: Simple Solutions for Circulating Game Collections Effectively with the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS). This program will show you some tips and tricks for preserving and processing a tabletop game collection for efficient circulation. Come see the results of a year-long research project that evaluated several preservation and processing techniques for extending the life of a game collection.

Still don’t have your fill of games? There is a Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage in the exhibit hall! On Saturday morning, at 10:30am, Pierce Watters will moderate a panel of experts as they discuss how gaming programs fit in your library. On hand will be game publishers, distributors, and librarians to discuss Playing Tabletop Games at Your Library.

So come learn about the ways that games can enhance your library collections and programs at the American Library Association's Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando.


Unplugged Entertainment

Posted on May 31, 2016

Our guest post today is from Jake Hutton. Jake is a Children's Library Associate at the Harford County Public Library.


A picture of me at Baltimore Otakon. Yes, I am a big nerd☺.

When the 2015 International Games Day was announced, I was a new Children’s Librarian, at the Bel Air Branch of the Harford County Public Library, in Harford County, Maryland. During the short time I had been at the library, I had acquired a reputation as the resident gamer/nerd, so my boss asked if IGD was an event I would like to run. I jumped at the opportunity and approached planning with a few goals.


  • Showcase the many forms of non-electronic gaming available by providing a wide range of activities.
  • Demonstrate and discuss the value of gaming to participating parents and interested co-workers.
  • Draw in as large a crowd as possible.
  • Get a range of age groups in the library playing.

The Actual Event

After months of preparation the day finally arrived. It was a resounding success. We had a total of 70 participants, with the majority either elementary aged or adults. Most of the participants stayed the entire day, playing pretty much every game we had available.

Thanks to three local gaming stores, Critical Hit Games, Xpanding Universe, and Bel Air Games, along with several volunteers giving their time and materials, we were able to offer a wide range of activities including board games, miniature painting, card games, miniature games, and Dungeons and Dragons.

One particularly popular board game was Get Bit. In Get Bit, each player plays as a multi-part pirate, with the goal of outswimming the shark chasing them. Players secretly choose from a hand of cards ranging from 1 to 5, with the lowest number moving to the back of the line. The final person at the back of the line gets bit, and the player must pull off a body piece. The kids had a blast yanking arms, legs, and heads off, and putting them in the shark’s mouth!  


Another very memorable moment happened while our volunteer Dungeon Master ran an intro game of Dungeons and Dragons. One of the players was a hesitant Mom, who was playing only because her son begged her too. Before starting playing the Mom had confided that this was not necessarily her thing.

After about 15 minutes playing, I overheard the Mom celebrating when her character succeeded at slaying a monster, and groaning loudly when getting mauled by a wolf. At one point the Mom stated, “Ok I think I am getting this, this is pretty cool!” After the event she approached me and we chatted a bit about the benefits of games like Dungeons and Dragons for the imaginative play, social interaction, and reading comprehension they teach, I think she left viewing gaming in a more positive light.


IGD was an extremely rewarding experience, and I left work already excited for next year. It was great seeing elementary aged kids playing alongside adults and middle schoolers, with everyone smiling and having a good time. I overheard several commenting that they would like to play similar games in their own homes. I would strongly recommend anyone considering participating in IGD to give it a try, which leads me into some of my tips and lessons:

  • Contact friendly local game stores. Most will be more than excited to participate in a program like this. They may even bring prizes. This does not mean stores like Gamestop, but rather small comic shops and board/miniature game stores. Most areas have at least one.
  • Hand out raffle tickets for participating at each station. This encourages people to stay longer and to try different things. I drew tickets for small prizes throughout the day, and had 2 of the nicer prizes drawn at the end of the day. These were donated by the participating game stores.
  • Make prominent displays in the library, talk it up within the branch, and try to contact local schools. Do whatever you need to get the word out. I could have improved on this front, and will be making a bigger effort next year.
  • This is a great chance to showcase the gaming, science fiction, and fantasy materials in the library collection. Many people were surprised by and interested in our range of materials. I was even sneaky and rewarded people who checked out related items with a raffle ticket!

Before signing off, I want to thank Critical Hit Games, Xpanding Universe, Bel Air Games, and my volunteers for making IGD such a success! See you all next year, if not before.  

Jake Hutton
Children’s Library Associate
Harford County Public Library

International Games Day 2016: The Countdown Begins

Posted on May 23, 2016

Hello everyone! International Games Day 2016 will be here before we know it. Keep your eye on the IGD blog for updates on this year’s event and interesting stories about how you can include games in your library. We are planning some great posts about the intersection of games and education as well as ways to play, even with little to no materials budget.

As you know, this is an all volunteer run event. If you would be interested in helping to make the blog great again this year with a post or series, let us know by filling out the contact form. We are excited for all the great games, sponsors, and events that await us at this year’s International Games Day!

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