International Games Day @ your library Game on November 21, 2015!

International Games Day @ Arizona State University Fletcher Library

Posted on May 11, 2015

Our guest post this week comes from Michelle Gohr. 

Michelle Gohr is a Library Assistant at Arizona State Universities Fletcher Library. She will be earning her Masters of Library Science in June and is looking forward to her future career in librarianship, wherever it may lead. As an avid gamer and also academic, Michelle is incredibly passionate about raising awareness for the importance of games in learning and literacy and hopes to work towards her goals of building, maintaining, and promoting both tabletop and video game collections as she makes her debut into librarianship.

2014 was the first of many years to come that Arizona State University Fletcher Library was able to participate in International Game Day. Although it was a big success, there were many lessons learned and we hope that the event will only get better over the years. Unfortunately, on the Friday before the event a water pipe burst in the libraries basement, causing widespread flooding, but since so much planning had already gone into the event, we decided that the show must go on. To make matters worse, an automated message was erroneously sent to all ASU students and staff that the library would be closed on Saturday due to the burst pipe, which caused a great deal of confusion among registered attendees and significantly impacted the expected turnout. But the local gaming community came together at the last minute to spread the word about the event and help us attract 425 visitors throughout the day! We couldn’t have done it without them, and from our experience we highly recommend partnering with local community groups to help make your next IGD @ your library spectacular.

One of our most popular activities of the day was the Minecraft Photobooth. Months prior to the event the library partnered with a campus costuming club to create life size Minecraft animals, blocks for building, a full size Ender Dragon and her egg complete with glowing eyes, and even wearable props for visitors to build their own worlds and take pictures with. It’s a very fun activity that all ages can enjoy. Partnering with local groups made a huge difference, and the community felt that the event was a joint effort, and were happy to support it! The Minecraft props were fun to make together as a group, and were super cheap too, which is perfect for any library on a budget.

IGD @ Arizona State University Fletcher Library  IGD @ Arizona State University Fletcher Library

Unfortunately, because of funding issues, but also because we’re an academic institution, and there is still apprehension in regards to purchasing a video game collection, so we were really worried that we would not be able to provide gaming for visitors. Fortunately, we contacted a local gaming café, and they volunteered their time and staff to bring over consoles and games, and even run some tournaments for Halo and Mario Kart Wii U! We also partnered with a local tabletop and card shop that sent volunteers to teach visitors how to play some of the many demo games they donated, and handed out prizes and coupons to attendees!

IGD @ Arizona State University Fletcher Library

We’re already being contacted by groups that participated last year, and they are all helping to put together even more activities for the year to come! This year we will be holding a Minecraft scavenger hunt, where participants have to find hidden treasure chests that hold various materials, then use those found materials to craft objects at crafting stations. We will also have a life size Pacman game, where participants take turns in the large maze tapped off on the floor to gather all the cherries. Other activities include holding a Pokémon League where visitors can bring their Nintendo 3DS’s and challenge each costumed gym leader to collect gym badges. We also always encourage our visitors to attend the event wearing their favorite video game costume. This year, we’ve already contacted tons of costume groups who will be attending in full costume for pictures, and teaching visitors how to make their own video game armor!

We can’t wait for this year’s event, and hopefully our experiences from last year and partnering with groups and clubs will make it even better! We at Fletcher highly recommend contacting clubs at local colleges and universities, or find Facebook pages or meetup groups to partner with for your next event. Not only will it save you and your library time and money, but it brings the community together to create something unique and special for everyone involved. Even as library workers we should all share our great ideas with one another so we, as a collection of information professionals, can be the best we can be for our patrons globally!

Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!

-Michelle Ashley Gohr -- michelle.gohr at asu.edu
Fletcher Library as Arizona State University

 

International Games Day Comes to Fondulac District Library

Posted on April 27, 2015

Our guest post this week comes from Laura Warren and Jimi Roberts. 

Laura Warren: Laura Warren is full time Adult Services Assistant. She has her Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology, and is in charge of the Local History Collection. She has been a gamer for many years, and implementing a successful gaming program into our library is one of her passions.

Jimi Roberts: Jimi Roberts is a part-time Circulation Assistant at Fondulac District Library.  Outside of work he is an avid PC gamer, board game enthusiast and tabletop miniature painter (and occasional player).  He also enjoys singing Native American Drum music and dancing at powwows and festivals.  

It’s 10:50am on November 15th. We all scramble around plugging each controller in, testing each mouse, setting up board game pieces, and finishing all the final touches before the International Games Day festivities begin. This is our first International Games Day, and we are all hoping that the countless hours we have all put in will pay off with smiling faces, lots of laughter, and record numbers for our gaming programming. As 11:00am hits we all take a deep breath and open the doors to let the games begin.

Fondulac District Library is situated in central Illinois and sits right across the river from Peoria, the third largest metropolitan area outside of Chicagoland. Our library population sits right around 22,750, and we have around 9,830 current patrons with cards. We had hosted one other large games day and decided to do a similar program for International Games Day. We try to offer a wide variety of games to interest gamers at all levels. We had six areas which patrons were encouraged to move between. The library was open from 9-5 that day, but our International Games Day went from 11am-4pm.

The first area was the Board Game Room. Fondulac Library has around 40 board and card games for patrons to play on site. We pulled them into our largest meeting room, and made them all available for patrons to play. In one corner of this room we had a volunteer running Pathfinder demos, as well as Magic the Gathering demos. This room was also staffed with librarians and volunteers that had experience playing most to the games we offer.

Fondulac District Library

Fondulac District Library

Fondulac District Library

In our atrium, we set up seven different gaming stations. Our systems included, the Atari, WiiU, Steam, PS3, PS4, N64, and an Ouya. We limited the games which could be played on these systems to a few to make things a little more stream lined. We placed timers and sign in sheets at each station in case of lines and time issues. This was only needed at our busiest times.

Fondulac District Library

Our library has a group of regular Yu-Gi-Oh! players. We gave these patrons their own little area, we referred to as the Yu-Gi-Oh! Café. They could play each other, and when those interested approached, they would share the basic rules with the patron. We had a great box sent to us by Konami, which had demo decks and player mats that were very useful to get people interested in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Fondulac District Library

We also opened the children’s department for a couple great activities. In the story and craft room tables were set up, and games, appropriate for children or families, were put out for patrons to play. We also had an amazing game of human sized Candy Land. Our librarians placed fun colored tiles on the floor, and decorated the whole department with Candy Land themed decorations. Patrons would stop at the information desk to pick up a portable spinner, and would spin their way through the Candy Land course.

Last but not least, we launched our Minecraft server for International Games Day. Our board room was completely decked out with Minecraft decorations, and set up with 7 laptops which the patrons could play on. Patrons could explore and play together on our new server. Our library has invested in 6 Minecraft accounts. Patrons could play on their account, if they preferred, or they could use the accounts we had purchased.

Fondulac District Library

As you entered the library we had a volunteer staffed welcome desk. At the desk you were handed a flier, which listed all the activities hosted for the day. You could also register for the prize drawings. We had 3 separate prize packs, a child prize pack, an adult prize pack, and a Minecraft prize pack. We ultimately had around 117 attend our program. Though we were shooting for around 150, we were happy with our numbers. Our library sponsored Super Games Day, and International Games Day programming, has been our highest attended program library wide, with the exception of Star Wars Day.

A gaming program can sometimes be a labor of love, but we have worked very hard to create and maintain programming that fits our particular community. We now offer monthly Yu-Gi-Oh!, Minecraft, Board Game, and Chess programming to our teens and adults. We also have four gaming stations that our patrons can use daily, two in our children’s department, and two in our teen space. International Games Day was a great addition to the gaming programming we currently have going on. The community resources and the sponsors generosity made our International Games Day great, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. We are already brainstorming our next International Games Day and look forward to offering our patrons more and more gaming programming and options.

 

Live Clue Game

Posted on April 14, 2015

Our guest post this week is from librarian Jonathan Dolce, the Head of the Children’s Library at Athens-Clare County Library. His professional library career began in 2000 at the Volusia County Library system, where he worked as a young adult librarian and earned their Employee of Year commendation. He later spent four years as Head of Youth Services for Maitland Public Library. He keeps active in the professional librarian community by presenting break-out sessions and by taking part in poster sessions at FLA and the 2015 GCBA convention.

I based my teen program on the popular board game Clue, but I made it Live Clue.

The game setup was cheap but took time and required a large room. To set the stage, our auditorium has a linoleum tile floor, each tile being a square foot. Using colored masking tape, I mapped out the floor of the auditorium to be identical to the Clue game board's rooms inside the mansion and outlined the squares for the game pieces to move. Then I added life-sized furniture to each of the mansion's rooms. I also recreated the game cards, increasing the size of the game cards to 8 x 11, and issued clipboards to the players to hold their clues.  Clue board

My trip to the Goodwill store yielded inexpensive costumes and accessories for each of the six players in colors that matched their character names: Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Reverend Green, Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum.  Our local police station donated evidence tags and fingerprinting accessories that added to the experience. The players used life-sized weapons for the game's markers - quite literally I gathered a big plumber's wrench, a cap gun (with caps!), a thick rope, a dagger (a plastic sword that I cut down to dagger-size), a lead pipe and a massive brass candlestick holder. The photo below shows all of my game props.

Live Clue Materials

The game play was identical to the original game except that live players replaced the markers. I played a butler who was their game host and I ensured proper game play. In the photo above, I'm holding a candlestick with a large foam die; after a roll, the players would move one tile at a time, just like in regular game play. Also in the photo is Kristen Arnett, my assistant, who was Ms. Scarlett, and Dylan, Brianna and Emily, who are also in costume and holding their game cards.

Half the teens had to wait their turn to play the game. While waiting, they played some board games, watched the Live Clue game and enjoyed eating pizza and drinking soda.

Playing Live Clue at Athens Clare County Library

The game winners all received a Clue game and all other attendees/participants simply won the right to eat and drink all of the refreshments.

Sounds like fun? It was!

Submitted by Jonathan Dolce, Athens-Clarke County Library

International Games Day 2015

Posted on March 25, 2015

Hello! Hola! Bonjour! こんにちは! Hai! Hallo! Hallå! 您好! Olá! Bok! здраво! Xin chào! Dia duit! здравствуйте! Musta!

It is that time of year again!

What time, you ask?

Time to mark your calendars for this year’s International Games Day @ Your Library!

This year libraries will be celebrating games and play on Saturday, November 21st.

For those who wonder what, exactly, International Games Day @ Your Library is - it is a chance to celebrate games, libraries and communities around the world.

Last year was very successful with over 1,200 libraries from around the world participating, and we are striving for even an even better year in 2015!

Members of our planning committee have been busy talking to some of our favorite sponsors from the past, such as Konami (the maker of Yu-Gi-Oh!), and lining up some exciting new collaborators for this year’s event!

Our committee is busy putting the final touches on our website, registrations form, press kit and promotional materials for this year's event so keep an eye out for these items. Registration will open in May.

Some changes that have already occurred for our group this year include a change in our blog coordinators - this year the blog will be organized by Simon Lee and Hannah Tracy. (I’m sure we will still see Phil every now and then, but he has his hands pretty full right now.) If you had volunteered to write a blog post, they should be contacting you at some point in the future.

Check this blog for updates about International Games Day as well as other fun game-related posts. And if you have any exciting plans for this year's event, drop us a line and let us know!

  • Diane Robson and Becky Richardson, Co-Chairs of International Games Day @ Your Library

IGD Reflections

Posted on December 16, 2014

Hi folks! Here are some musings on my time in the IGD team the last couple of years. While I'll still be around, I will have to step back somewhat this coming year, so I hope you'll indulge me before I go!

The first thing I wanted to remark on was how IGD reflects the medium we celebrate, games, as a way of building connections. In the course of this work, I've corresponded and even chatted through various voice channels with lovely folks from all over the world. I've experienced this before, mind you, in my volunteer work for Amnesty International - but that was in defense of universal human rights and basic freedoms, so you'd expect that you'd tap into a worldwide community of goodhearted souls. That I would be lucky enough to have a similar experience focused on games was not something I'd ever expected, but I've met and/or corresponded with not only quiet folks who make awesome things happen (predictable, seeing as we are blessed with so many in libraryland), but notable leaders and activists, and amazing creators of games, literature, and mischievous mixtures of both.

(If this appeals to you, maybe you should consider helping out with the IGD committee?)

Next, looking back at the two series of interviews that occasioned a good deal of the aforementioned correspondence, it's truly remarkable to me how strong the connection between games folks and libraries is. Every one of the game designers interviewed for this series has spoken about the strength of their personal connection to libraries, and over half - 4 of the 7 - either have immediate family (all mothers, in fact) who have spent significant time working in libraries or have done so themselves. I didn't set out to achieve this at all - I simply haven't had time to curate this to any extent! Now, there may be some selection bias at work here - certainly an interview on libraries will most strongly appeal to library-lovers - but I should add that among the game designers I approached, there were very few people who didn't say yes... which would tend to confirm my general point: gamers love libraries.

Similarly, while not all of them would necessarily identify as such, there are no non-gamers among the authors and library folks we interviewed for the companion series. Not one. And once again, I didn't seek people out on the basis of their enjoyment of games - I had no idea, except in Ryan North's case. I selected them because I thought they were interesting (and I had a shot at getting a response from them): they are all intelligent, hardworking, deep-thinking people who all clearly have a deep and abiding love of and commitment to libraries and books... and it turns out they all play games. That's obviously not to say that everyone does - but it is to say that clearly many of "our kinds of people" (not that most libraries exist to serve only one kind of person!) find something in games that is worth the investment of their time. To my mind, this adds weight to a long-held pet theory: that games and play are to brain workers and creators what dancing is to athletes - exercising (and incidentally further developing) a highly developed capacity for the sake of the sheer pleasure of it. It also tends to validate, yet again, the idea that not only do games belong in libraries just as much as other creative works, but that they have a special place in libraries - the home of self-directed intelligence and shared culture, especially in forms that require the active engagement of the audience, as both reading and playing do.

We still have a way to go in helping this be more widely understood: cultural inertia is a powerful force, as are the metrics and systems it shapes and which are some of its most potent embodiments. (Game designers know better than anyone the power of systems and measurement to direct attention and shape behaviour!) Thankfully, 1400 libraries all over the planet coming together to bring that intelligent, community-focused, cultured library experience to the playing (and sharing) of games for somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 people worldwide is a pretty powerful invalidation of those faulty assumptions.

Overcoming those misconceptions is worth the effort. (It helps that the effort produces something as fun as IGD!) It's clear that the good things to be cultivated by proper inclusion of games in libraries - including increased systems literacy, greater implementation bias, and more cohesive and inclusive communities - are a potent complement to the existing virtues we cultivate so well: traditional informational literacy, reflective analysis, and independent thought (plus of course more cohesive and inclusive communities; let's not forget this is something we already promote!). And extrinsic benefits aside, in and of itself, fun is as much worth sharing as beauty - if indeed they are not fundamentally just active and passive modes of the same thing.

 

As this is likely to be my final post in my current role here at IGD, I'd personally like once again to thank the IGD volunteer team for their hard work in making it all happen: Diane Robson (Diane in particular for the tremendous support she's offered over the last couple of years), Teresa Slobuski, Kristin Boyett, Rebecca Richardson, Hannah Tracy, Simon Lee, international reps Ben Manolas from ALIA and Lone Hejlskov Munkeberg from Nordic Game Day (and Lone's predecessor Thomas Vigild), and all the others who chipped in along the way (along with anyone else I've forgotten - life is more hectic than usual at this end!); Jenny Levine, for her support behind the scenes and throughout the past years of IGD; the folks on the Games & Gaming Round Table for their kind words and encouragement; David Folmar for his help with the Global Gossip Game; the interviewees and other contributors to the blog; plus of course our generous donors, who have been thanked more eloquently than I possibly could by our participating libraries in the final report; and all three auspicing organisations (ALA, ALIA and NGD) for their support and vision in helping make IGD happen.

But most of all, I'd like to thank the libraries and individuals who take the idea of IGD and make it a reality that everyday folks all over the planet can actually experience and enjoy, both among themselves and as part of a consciously shared worldwide community of culture and learning. To me, among the best qualities of humanity is that empathetic capacity to heighten our pleasure and enjoyment with the knowledge that it is being shared with others; it simultaneously motivates concern for each other and gives us the energy to act on that sense of community. Events like IGD give us the opportunity to do that sharing (and reward it) on an explicitly global scale - as libraries always do, of course, but again, usually not in such a conscious and overt way.

To my mind that makes IGD not just a fun thing, but a beautiful one too.

And you make that happen. So thank you for your interest and support, and here's to many more International Games Days @ our libraries! (Starting with Saturday November 21, 2015.)

And if you're interested to hear more about my other work for games and libraries, have been interested in reading more along the lines of the articles/series I've composed for this blog, have a brilliant idea or awesome library for the Global Gossip Game, or just want to ask me something, look me up at philipminchin.com.

All best wishes from Australia,
- Philip Minchin

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