International Games Week October 29 – November 4

International Games Week

IGD 2013 final roundup!

Posted on December 8, 2013

Congratulations on another fantastic year!

International Games Day was a great success again for libraries around the world. On Saturday, November 16th, 2013, an estimated 25-30,000 library patrons participated with their local libraries on all seven continents.

  • 863 libraries registered to participate
  • 392 libraries filled out the post-event survey (a 45% response rate!) and confirmed nearly 16,000 participants
  • 19 of these libraries participated in Mario Kart
  • 29 libraries participated in Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament
  • 840 players in 74 libraries participated in the Global Gossip Game

Each year this event demonstrates the value of games and gaming in libraries for all age groups connecting people within and between local communities all over the world. Here are some of the great comments we received about participating libraries' goals:

  • “To bring families together in a fun way. Lives are so hectic now with after school activities, it is nice to offer something fun on a Saturday.”
  • “To introduce ourselves (staff), hopefully we'd seem more approachable, and create connections...”
  • “To give the sense of pride that they were part of an international gaming event in which seven continents were participating and bring them close to communities and people the world over."

Almost every library notices the benefits of this day of gaming for their patrons. Here are some of their anecdotes:

  • “It's always fun to see the parents bringing their children to the IGD program, then watching the children teaching their parents how to play the games!” - Citizen's Library, Washington, PA
  • “Above all, the teen boys that participated were shocked that they were afforded the opportunity to play video games at the library. Their perception of the library is a place where they have to be quiet and read. This program helped break down some of the barriers that prevented them from connecting with staff members. Before they left the program, they came up to talk to me about having a video game program at the library every month. I am excited that they now see the library as a place they can come to with their friends to have fun.” - La Porte County Public Library, La Porte, IN
  • “The library had a great energy about it during our IGD program and it was seen when someone would arrive at the library not coming specifically for the event and they would then ask, 'What's going on? This is so cool that the library is doing this, how do I play?' It was so amazing to see so many people playing together, enthused, excited and having a fantastic time playing new games, old ones in a new way and just some of their favorites; everyone had huge smiles on their faces!” - Veterans Memorial Library, Mt. Pleasant, MI
  • “My favorite part of International Games Day was seeing strangers become friends and families laughing and bonding while playing Monopoly or Twister or a dance game. The awed look on faces as they walked into the party was wonderful. We received many thank yous and there was some begging to have another International Games Day soon!” - Beale Memorial Library, Bakersfield, CA
  • “One of our regular patrons just happened to be browsing back in our reading room, where we were hosting gaming for adults. She wandered over to a table that was playing Pandemic and asked if she could watch. She had a lot of questions and got completely absorbed in the rules and story of the game. When the game was finished, she joined us for a game of Dixit. When she left, she told me that she had been having an awful day and that this event had really lifted her spirits. She said it was just what she needed and wanted to know when our future game events were going to be held.” - West Slope Community Library, Portland, OR
  • “A young woman and elderly gentleman attending invited another man who was just sitting and watching to join them. It turns out this man did not speak any English so they played games that didn’t require vocabulary such as the balancing game Suspend, Jenga, dominos and a jigsaw puzzle. They did try Scrabble but she said she was pretty much helping both of the gentlemen on their turns but that the second man was pleased to learn some new 'American words.' The woman asked him where he was from and he pointed out Ukraine on the globe. All three enjoyed connecting over games and had fun despite the language differences!” - Seattle Public Library South Park Branch, Seattle, WA
  • “One of the families we have not seen at the library in a while attended our event. After pleasant exchanges, I said I was glad they came. The son said, 'I wouldn't miss this...it's my favorite library day!' The mom laughed and said he kept asking when game day was and when she got the reminder email, she knew they had to come.” - Pawling Free Library, Pawling, NY
  • “One little boy who comes to the library regularly didn't know about game day. When he saw all the games he was absolutely wide eyed! He said, 'I can play with any of these?! This is the best day of my life!'”
  • “There were complaints during the semi-finals of the chess tournament that one of the finalists only won because the other finalist was giving her tips - because he would rather play against the little girl than her big brother. Whether that was true or not, she can't have needed the tips overly, since she wound up winning the final round as well...” - Verdal bibliotek, Verdal, Nord-Trøndelag, Norway
  • “We had a grandmother race home and grab her grandchildren once she found out the event was on. Many positive comments and lots of smiling faces. We had an excellent mix of boys and girls playing games, especially Minecraft.” - Victoria Point Library, Victoria Point, Queensland, Australia
  • “One boy was upset that his mom was making him leave and proclaimed, 'BUT MOM THIS ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR!'” - Richards Free Library, Newport, NH
  • “Several of the adults in attendance had never played Wii games before and it was fun to see them learning to play Wii games from the young adults in attendance. They even attempted to play Dance Dance Revolution.” - Irvin L. Young Memorial Library, Whitewater, WI
  • “The majority of our younger patrons come from homes where Spanish is the first language. We saw many youth communicating between cultures and using Spanish and English to teach each other. Many of the older youth took on the role of mentor at the board game tables, patiently working with the children who were playing a game for the first time. Success!” - Mundy Branch Library, OCPL, Syracuse, NY
  • “Several participants came into the library and said they'd like to participate in the events but aren't 'gamers'. When I asked them if they'd ever played checkers as a child, tag on the playground, or Monopoly with their children they said, 'Well, of course--I love board games!' I then explained that this event was about celebrating the joy and power of GAMES, not just VIDEO games, at which point they became excited to participate.” - Westwood College DuPage, Woodridge, IL
  • “Several patrons who didn't know the event was going on, dropped in and ended up stayed all day. One woman looked at her watch and exclaimed, 'I told my husband I was just going to the Library to pick up a hold, and I've been here for 3 hours!'” - Oldham County Public Library, LaGrange, KY
  • “We had a gaming group from a local university volunteer for the day as their service project. They brought games and spent the event teaching kids and adults how to play new strategy games. It was a great success, and awesome to see people of all ages learning together.”
  • “A very antisocial 15 year old boy who frequents the teen computers but has never participated in a program was persuaded to come to IGD by the lure of free pizza. He ended up being phenomenal at Injustice and won a collectible Injustice figurine in a tournament and then carried it around with him proudly all day. At the end of the event, he asked to help clean up and thanked us profusely. (Also, our library director is an avid video gamer and he was at the event for a couple of hours. Watching him play Injustice with the teens was awesome. Talk about our leadership being accessible!)” - Mesa County Libraries, Grand Junction, CO
  • “We had a few parents who played games with children they brought to the program, but there was one adult who approached alone. She was a regular at the library and asked if adults were welcome to join in the games. We of course invited her to pick a game and join in... she chose Scrabble, but couldn't find a player. I played an open game of Scrabble with her and by the end we had teen spectators. Following Scrabble, she chose Apples to Apples and when she requested other players, two children (ages 6 and 9) joined. Though we had to help a bit with vocabulary, it was a very fun game and both adult and children were laughing out loud during much of the game. Apples to Apples was followed by Chutes and Ladders and a realization by the adult that the 'non-thinking' game was actually a tool for teaching math and sequencing.” - Tenafly Public Library, Tenafly, NJ

Our sponsors were vital to the event with donations from USAopoly, Heartland, Konami, and Game Table Online. Thanks once more to all of them! Not only do these donations offer fun for the day, but they help libraries build their game collections.

  • “The games were a big hit. Some of the younger kids got really creative with the rules of Crossways, it was interesting to watch them create their own version!”
  • “As part of our Game Day, the children not only get to learn how to play these games, but they also get a chance to win a copy. I couldn't help but laugh out loud when, after calling out the number on the winner's ticket for Square Shooters, a loud, excited "Yes!" rose up.”
  • “All of the people who came tried Tapple, and most had fun with it. One mom remarked that it was a good exercise in vocabulary for her son. Two girls learned Crossways from a volunteer, and then kicked him off for the next game so they could play on their own.”
  • “Everyone was excited to try the new games and found them quick to learn and easy to play.”
  • “Families had a lot of fun playing Tapple together. It was a great all-ages game.”
  • “Two adults spent time with a small child explaining how dice are rolled. They later said that they planned on buying Square Shooters because it was fast and fun.”
  • “We really appreciate receiving Square Shooters and Rodeo Rummy. I totally love the concept of putting a deck of cards on dice. Having these games available to our patrons really enhanced our event and gave us something to entice them to come.”
  • “Our families enjoyed both Square Shooters and Rodeo Rummy and it's sure to be in demand at future game days! Small libraries like our have very limited budgets and can't afford the luxury of game purchases, so I especially appreciate receiving your great games!”
  • “We had the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist League thanks to Konami and a big brother told his littler sister 'girls couldn't play Yu-Gi-Oh!', but she took a seat, learned to play with a volunteer from Konami, played against her brother, and won!”

Global Gossip circled the world, visiting every continent on the planet! Here is what participants had to say:

  • “The kids really enjoyed playing a game that they knew started in another part of the world, although it did take awhile to explain that there are libraries in Antarctica. They did not believe me at first when I said the game was going to be played on all 7 continents. They also assumed the game would only be played in English. When I explained the phrase would be passed around in other languages they were even more excited to play.” - La Porte County Public Library, La Porte, IN
  • “I liked getting the message from Oregon and passing it onto Alaska. It will be interesting to see how much the message has changed as it went around the globe.” - Hawaii Kai Public Library, Honolulu, HI
  • “Our Global Gossip experience was a lot of fun! Our participants were excited to connect with such a diverse group of libraries.” - Holmes County Library - East Branch, Walnut Creek, OH
  • “It was great; it generated some fun energy around the library. The nice thing was that it got some people involved who wouldn't have normally participated in IGD, like a man at our library who just comes to read the newspaper. He participated and said, 'I haven't done something like that in ages. That was fun!'” - Midlothian Public Library, Midlothian, IL
  • “A shy 4-year-old kid screwed up the courage to ask for the Secret and was visibly proud of himself for having done so and then passed it on.”
  • “Everyone was mesmerized by the fact that the secret phrase had come from Antarctica. It would then travel to Uganda. The entire world across seven continents is participating.” - American Library, New Delhi, India
  • “The students, parents, and teachers absolutely loved playing the Global Gossip Game. This aspect, I think even more than the physical games themselves, was a source of incredible excitement. In the process of communicating with our contacts in the Global Gossip Game, we have formed a relationship with people we never would have met. These connections are very powerful for our community. Many great conversations occurred revolving around verifying information, the transmission of information in an oral tradition, and the validity of translated information. Our experience with the Global Gossip Game illustrates what I hope to teach students and faculty every day. This has been an amazing experience for us all.”

As for how the game ended... well, let's just say that it started as the quote “Play is training for the unexpected”, and it wasn't wrong! The game split into 5 different chains, ending with “I love the world”, “Zombie”, “Clouds travel around the world”, “Glow, glow, peanut butter jelly”, and “Ian needs help” - and travelled through even more hilarious mutations along the way. The final report is online if you want to read more about this great event.

Tournaments are also a part of the IGD day. Ann Arbor (Mi) District Library coordinates these tournaments (thanks again, Ann Arbor!). This year 29 libraries participated in Super Smash Bros. The finals pitted Grimes Public Library, IA against Lawrence Public Library, KS, with Lawrence the victors.

The 19 libraries that participated in Mario Kart were racing on 4 different recommended tracks. Here are the fastest times for each track:

Mushroom Cup: Luigi Circuit

Winner: Evan M., Shapiro Library, Southern New Hampshire University, 1:18.031

Mushroom Cup: Mushroom Gorge

Winner: Lucas, St. Charles Public Library, 1:40.789

Flower Cup: Mario Circuit

Winner: Cooper, Long Beach Public Library, 1:30.277

Flower Cup: Coconut Mall

Winner: ACFPL Teens, Atlantic City Free Public Library, 1:46.346"

Congratulations all to these champions!

And speaking of champions: thank you once again to the tiny team of volunteers who brought it all together, to the hundreds of local libraries who took advantage of the opportunity to share games, play, and creative activities with their patrons, and of course to the thousands of people all over the world who took part in this celebration of libraries and the community of the mind! All best wishes to everyone for a happy, fun-filled, well-read 2014!

(Addendum: Keep the date of Saturday 15 November 2014 clear...)

IGD12 Wrap-up: So. Much. Awesome.

Posted on November 16, 2012

This year's verdict: gaming in libraries remains a powerful service.

Despite lower numbers due to the election (many library meeting rooms were booked for early voting) and a SuperStorm that devastated communities in the northeast, the stories from the libraries that participated illustrate why we do this.

First the numbers:

As in past years, though, it's really the stories that define the day. This year the impact of gaming in libraries was brought home in a particularly strong way by those northeastern libraries that still tried to provide games for their patrons. Five libraries reported what happened at their pared-down IGD12 events. Here are two of them:

  • "While many adults shared stories about their hardships following Hurricane Sandy, the children were entertained with three hours of playing time. Families all expressed gratitude for diversion from the tough week and commented how the library always seems to come through for the community! One Mom asked if there were any games that would improve her son's math facts in addition and subtraction. I was able to show here two games at our event that focused on this skill, but I also mentioned that games that use two dice work on this skill constantly since you have to add the two dice together. She was surprised to hear that and was very glad she came to the library to play games with her children." - Pawling Free Library, Pawling, NY
  • "Our community was affected by Tropical Storm Sandy. Many were without power all week and the schools were closed all week. I was not sure anyone would come because of the circumstances, but since there was no reason to cancel, I continued on with the event and was happy to see so many people attend. The parents said they were happy to get the kids out of the house and interacting with other kids again." - East Rutherford Memorial Library, East Rutherford, NJ

 

So many of the libraries reported these types of stories of positive interactions between kids who previously didn't know each other, families playing together, games solidifying relationships between staff and patrons, and more. A small sample of this year's comments:

  • "An elderly man in a wheelchair volunteered and played games with tiny tots and teens all day long. He had a great time and the kids did too." - Highlands Ranch Library, Highlands Ranch, CO
  • "Our Youth Services Department had a "Play Your Way Around the World" event that included a storyteller kicking things off with tales from around the world. The children then each received a world map and proceeded to ten different stations, each of which had a game from a different country to play. Games included Afghanistan kite making, Mayan ancient basket ball, Japanese card match game, etc. The children had such fun--there was much laughter in our Youth Department!" - Patrick Heath Public Library, Boerne, TX
  • "A couple of the tweens sat down with some kids who showed interest in the Monopoly Junior game, but had no idea how to get started. One couldn't even role dice before--they played for a solid hour before it was off to something else. Another group who normally wouldn't be all together on the Wii shared a game, and still another got all geeked about and taught the Labyrinth game to a much younger kid and the family. The library had also recently installed games on some iPads that were received with a grant and this was a great way to premiere them!" - Chippewa Falls PL, Chippewa Falls, WI
  • "The children that attended were constantly moving from one competitive game to another. One teen said, 'Thank you for doing this for us, if you didn't have this program I wouldn't have anything to do today but sit and watch tv.'" - Allen Parish Libraries, Oberlin, LA
  • "One amazing guy who seemed very shy and withdrawn all day picked up the mic for Rock Band and became this explosion of vocal energy. Everyone was floored by the transformation." - Bellevue Public Library, Bellevue, NE
  • "Two of my favorite anecdotes on international games day was watching younger teens get to know older teens while they were playing Yu-gi-oh! and seeing them help each other learn and understand the game rules. And watching older teens share the Wii game controls with younger elementary school players who then began to beat them at their own game." - Woodburn Public Library, Woodburn, OR
  • "The teens enjoyed playing the donated Bookworm games from PopCap and one even said, "By playing the Bookworm game, it increased my skills of building words and made me use my brain instead of just using the computer to play shooting or racing games which don't require too much brain knowledge." - Plainview Carnegie Library, Plainview, NE
  • "Our digital arts and gaming club has planned this event for the last four years. We increase numbers each year by 20-30 guests. The students do all the planning and implementation and they look forward to this event each year. Many of our students have improved social connections that they would not otherwise have at school. The relationship building and development of leadership and planning and organizational skills are the most important reasons why we continue to hold this event each year at our high school. The students enjoy this niche of friends and skill development through this school program and it definitely improves their overall success at FCHS. " - Franklin Community High School
  • "I had several new teens attend the program and many of them did not know anyone else [there], but by the end of 4 loud and hilarious rounds of Apples to Apples, I had gained a new member of our Teen Advisory Board and a couple new additions to our book club. This is definitely an event I will be doing again and since I got my first year underway with no hassle or problems, I hope to expand next year's IGD." - Briggs Lawrence County Public Library, Grand Prairie, TX
  • "One three-year-old girl played Wii bowling and Twister for the first time, and some of our regular drop-in kids who frequent the library found some new value in the IGD offerings when they happened in (they wanted to know if we could do the games every Saturday, in fact!). One of the best results of the program was that we had a lot of community and relationship building happen both because staff got to spend one-on-one time with families and because children who previously didn't know each other got to interact together to play new games." - Crooked Lake Branch Library, Coon Rapids, MN
  • "One of the teens with whom I had not interacted before gave me a hug of excitement when I set up the Xbox Rock band equipment. I am always surprised at how nicely the teens interact during gaming days. They help us set up the equipment, teach each other how to play, and police themselves so that everyone gets a turn. There is never fighting or hogging of the game consoles. It is a positive experience for everyone." - New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA
  • "The teens look forward to International Gaming Day every year. It tends to be one of our most popular programs." - The Emmett O'Neal Library, Mountain Brook, AL

Many libraries again reported that they couldn't have offered Games Day activities without the generous donations from this year's sponsors, Ravensburger (Labyrinth), PopCap (Bookworm), and GameTable Online. We thank all of our sponsors, and we know libraries will use the donations for many years to come to provide fun and learning for their patrons.

International Games Day 10
Bloomingdale (IL) Public Library

Put Saturday, November 2 16, 2013, on your calendar now for IGD13. We'll be starting work on next year's event soon, so watch here for updates.

NGD11 Another Success!

Posted on November 29, 2011

National Gaming Day 2011The surveys are in, and what comes through loud and clear is that National Gaming Day @ your library continues to strengthen communities and bring diverse groups of people together. As the heart of the community, the library remains the most viable institution to bridge generational gaps, enable new social interactions, and reinforce positive connections in a truly inclusive environment.

This year's numbers and anecdotes again tell a story too often missing from today's news: families taking time to play together; teens and seniors teaching each other to play their favorite games; kids playing together who wouldn't even talk to each other at school; students from foreign countries playing universal games that overcome language barriers; kids learning how to play together, take turns, and demonstrate good sportsmanship; participants seeing their libraries and librarians in a new light; and so much more.

National Gaming Day @ your LibraryThe numbers help illustrate what happened on National Gaming Day:

  • Number of libraries registered to participate: 1,412
  • Number of libraries that submitted # of players for NGD activities: 739
  • Total number of players for NGD11 activities: 27,767
  • Number of libraries that participated in the 4th National Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament: 39 (the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library won again)
  • Number of libraries that participated in the 30th Anniversary Frogger High Score Contest: 7
  • There was at least one library registered to participate in all 50 U.S. states (plus the Virgin Islands).
  • Number of non-US libraries that participated (that we know of): 21 libraries in 14 countries
  • The largest demographic group of attendees was families (21.9%), followed by a mix of ages (19.3%) and a mix of children and teens (18.9%)

But the numbers aren't the real story. Once again the true spirit of the day is what happens at each library, as the following anecdotes provided by librarians prove.

  • "My favorite part of NGD is when kids who don't hang out together at school are here and behave like they have been the best of friends forever. And the way gaming brings different generations together through teamwork at beating the big boss in the video game or learning a new board game together. They are having fun without all the prejudices." - Wister (OK) Public Library
  • "We had different generations of participants play the games together, with the college students showing a late 50's woman how to play Super Mario Brothers. The woman was all excited when she actually was able to get to the 2nd level and was amazed at the skill of the students who easily surpassed her score." - Courtright Memorial Library (Westerville, OH)
  • "I loved the fact that some kids took the leadership role in our Gaming day...I overheard one child ask....'Mom....do you know how to play Memory?', 'I can teach you.' " - Appleton (MN) Public Library
  • "As always, the interaction between players is astounding. Students of different ages and playing ability played next to each other, and the more experienced players were more than willing to share what they know." - St. Charles (IL) Public Library
  • "It was really neat to see adults trying their hand at the Wii games, where kids & teens 'know it all', and then to see those same kids & teens learn some of the more 'traditional' games that the adults have grown up with and already know. Hmmm, learning from another generation...@ the library...who'd a thunk it?!?" - Citizens Library (Washington, PA)
  • "A child who is new to the neighborhood made 2 friends at 'Get Your Game On.'" - Montvale (VA) Library
  • "NGD helped promote intergenerational gaming. We had a group of different ages playing Scrabble. Each one shared a moment playing Words With Friends or other word games that have helped their vocabulary and that is why they wanted to play Scrabble at the event. We had two participants that were on the local high school chess team that offered pointers to others that wanted to learn and play (including myself). Watching the personalities of the children shine when writing answers for Loaded Questions and Awkward Family Photos was great to see. We all had laughs and enjoyed the time playing. Everyone had a great time dancing to all sorts of music in Dance Central 2 as well!" - Rossford (OH) Public Library
  • "I loved seeing the kids all playing Zombies! and really going after each other. They played for over an hour and not one teen pulled their phone to text or anything. That is a unique thing that happened." - Belfry (KY) Public Library
  • "Many good things happened during National Gaming Day including watching a pair of shy sisters come out of their shells and have a ball playing with others and watching an autistic boy who often has behavior problems playing with the other kids and enjoying the experience without any issues at all." - Mead Public Library (Sheboygan, WI)
  • "The teens LOVED it when I could look at the Smash screen and tell them 'Your opponents are in (insert state name here).' It opened up a whole new world for them. Also, there was one boy who attended with an older sibling and had special needs. He was neither chronologically nor developmentally a teen, but the teens adopted him as one of their own, allowing him to have his turn and play alongside them. I was so proud of my teens!!" - Commerce Township (MI) Community Library
  • "As a school with a school population that includes out of town dormers and residents of Chicago that usually do not interact, this event provided a forum for people who would otherwise not engage in activities together to find a common ground." - Saul Silber Memorial Library (Chicago, IL)
  • "Sometimes when people mention how 'board games are dead,' I always tell them about the popularity of board games at the library! - Rensselaer (IN) Public Library
  • "[FamilyAndPartyGames.com] sending us board games helped those really shy kids be able to play something. Normally those shy ones would just stand around and watch the video gamers, but this year they had fun playing. The teachers that were there got them to sit down and join them for some great laughs." - South Grand Prairie (TX) Ninth Grade Center
  • "[Gaming] is BY FAR the most popular weekly program for teens in grades 6-12 and if they had their way, they would participate on a daily basis. It has been a crucial component in linking many of these teens with reading material as well - many SciFi and Fantasy publishers have series that build upon these games - it's a great opportunity to connect with gamers and make it a social experience!" - Mahopac (NY) Public Library

The Greatest Day EverWe also want to thank FamilyAndPartyGames.com for their generous donation this year, which helped make this year's National Gaming Day such a great event.

Take note: we're moving this annual event up a week from the second Saturday of each November to the first Saturday of the month, so the newly named 2012 International Games Day will take place on Saturday, November 3rd. Mark your calendars now so you're ready for next year!


See also:

 

Final NGD10 Numbers

Posted on November 23, 2010

We've been hearing from a lot of libraries about how much fun patrons had at their National Gaming Day events, and now we have some numbers and anecdotes to help illustrate what happened. We're still going through the 845 survey responses, but here's what we've found so far.

  • Number of libraries registered to participate: 1,882
  • Number of libraries that submitted # of players for NGD activities: 787
  • Total number of players for NGD activities: 26,504
  • Number of libraries in the national Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament (simultaneous): 47
  • Number of libraries in the national Rock Band High Score tournament (asynchronous): 40
  • Number of non-US libraries that participated (that we know of): 5 (Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, South Korea)

City Councillor & his children You can see more about the 2010 national video game tournament results or compare these numbers to the 2008 and 2009 Gaming Day events.

As usual, though, the anecdotes submitted by librarians are what really tell the story -- and success -- of National Gaming Day. This year, we again received stories about intergenerational gaming, kids and teens becoming more invested in their libraries, displays of sportsmanship, librarians building relationships with new patrons, and more. Here are just some of the stories that embody the goals and objectives of National Gaming Day @ your library.

  • "...a lot of the teens who did not know each other before the event made friends and exchanged email/phone contacts with each other."
  • "Our game day attracted people we wouldn't normally see in the library and we received rave reviews from them."
  • "They even helped me clean up afterward! I was very lucky to have been blessed by 3 awesome (unofficial) teen volunteers that helped me control the crowd of rambunctious kids and tweens! (They now have volunteer applications and will hopefully soon be official.)"
  • "A family with young children came in and instead of just getting on their own individual computers, they sat at a table and played Connect 4 together for about an hour. It was really fun to see the little girls and their parents all laughing and having a good time together."
  • "Our high expectations were met: nothing was lost, broken or stolen; there was no smacktalking; everyone took turns; no fights or behavior problems; and a wide variety of ages played together, including teens with younger kids and older developmentally delayed adults. Also, no patrons complained about the noise or energy levels :)"
  • "A reserved homeschooled high-schooler and a bouncy talkative middle-schooler ended up being our SSBB team for the final round -- and somehow in the course of the afternoon they'd developed a good luck ritual and handshake before they took up their controllers."
  • "Most of the kids that attended the gaming program walked out of the library with books; many of those are not what we would call active/regular library users."
  • "Two fathers stopped in with their children. Neither the children or the fathers knew each other but by the time they had finished their lunch they had exchanged addresses and the teen-aged daughters had become friends."
  • "One patron, when he learned that the library stocked manga and anime, went scrambling out of the gaming room. He returned 5 minutes later with a stack of 15 books in hand."
  • "The library has a chess table that was donated by a patron. Two elderly gentlemen, both friends, came to Gaming Day to use the chess table. They were so impressed by the turnout and the excitement they saw from the youth that they became excited about starting a chess club with the goal of teaching youth how to play chess. We also had several adult and senior gamers who, because of what they observed and participated in, are interested in forming a Wii bowling league after the holidays."
  • "Gaming always brings new kids to our library and every time they want to be part of the fun and end up getting a library card."
  • "It was nice to see our teens helping younger children to understand the math concepts used in Wits and Wagers Family Edition. The players discussed concepts like percentages and fractions in a way that made the younger players understand what the question was asking."
  • "A senior citizen came in with his backgammon set and was happy to find someone to play with. He would like us to set up a backgammon club at the library which we will try to do. Also, it was interesting to note that several children who usually are a bit disruptive while waiting for their parents on the computers were very quiet and cooperative while playing the games."
  • "Several people (of all ages) thanked us for hosting this event. One man told us he's a single father and sometimes forgets to just have fun with his kids. He appreciated us providing him with this opportunity to spend time having as a family enjoying themselves."
  • "Most of the gamers stayed afterward and joined our Teen Council and were really engaged and energetic with new ideas for activities and programming."
  • "We had a young lady attend who is physically disabled. She has very few friends and doesn't have many chances to interact with people. During the event, she was able to play games with a number of people."
  • "The teens designed a gamer's card and the participants received a star for every station they visited--five stars earned them a 10.00 gift card from one of the local vendors. It was a very successful day and the teens saw their planning efforts pay off for themselves and the attendees."
  • "This library serves a bilingual (predominantly French, then English) community; it was great to see the kids interacting with kids from the same neighbourhood but who go to different school and speak the other language."
  • "The children were wonderful at taking turns playing Super Mario Brothers on Wii and really helped and encouraged each other, suggestions tips and tricks so that other players could succeed at the game. Some families stayed from beginning to end, taking breaks to get books and DVD's and then coming back for more games and snacks."
  • "The kids were drawn to the assortment of games arrayed on the reading tables and many stayed for hours, inviting each other to join them in a game. Many of the kids in this neighborhood are from Mexican immigrant families and I was surprised to see how many were already familiar and excited about games such as Uno, mancala, Jenga, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland.... One of our Homework Helper volunteers showed up with his very nice chess set and stayed FIVE hours teaching the kids how to play chess! This is a game I did not think these kids would have patience for, but throughout the day, I continually saw kids hanging over the board with Ted, studying the pieces, trying out moves, and listening to Ted's comments and suggestions. I purchased a Scrabble en español to supplement the games collection and while no one picked this up to play, a Spanish-speaking mother used it to teach her toddler alphabet letters. She later commented to me what a great program and positive activity this was for the kids."

There were many more such stories, and they all highlight why National Gaming Day @ your library is such a positive event at all types of libraries. Remember to mark your calendar now for National Gaming Day 2011 on Saturday, November 12!

Eval at end of day
Eval at end of day at Haverhill Public Library

Double the Fun – Final NGD2009 Numbers

Posted on November 24, 2009

A big thank you to all of the libraries that responded to our feedback survey about your National Gaming Day activities for 2009. The big news is that we more than doubled participation all the way around!


(National Gaming Day 2009 at Skokie (IL) Public Library)

Some specific numbers:

  • Number of libraries registered to participate: 1,365
  • Number of libraries that submitted # of players for NGD activities: 549
  • Total number of players for NGD activities: 31,296
  • Number of libraries in the national Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament (simultaneous): 42
  • Number of libraries in the national Rock Band High Score tournament (asynchronous): 14
  • Number of non-US libraries that participated (that we know of): 2 (Canada, Japan), with interest expressed from Morocco for next year)

For comparison, here's how these numbers stack up against last year's totals.

  • Number of libraries registered to participate: 617
  • Number of libraries that submitted # of players for NGD2008 activities: 557
  • Total # of players for NGD2008 activities: 14,184

So overall, more than double the number of libraries registered to participate, and more than double the number of participants played at those libraries. Wow - you blew us away with your efforts and enthusiasm - thank you!

We were again impressed with the anecdotes librarians gave us in the feedback survey, too. Here's just a small sampling of the impact National Gaming Day had in communities across the country.

  • "...I really witnessed a sense of community as potentially shy teens reached across the table and helped one another by whispering tips to each player during their SSB brawl matches. Additionally, without any prodding, those waiting to play or those who had "lost" their match, began forming groups to try out and play the board games sent to us from [...] Hasbro. It was wonderful to see middle school aged contestants and high schoolers come together to teach and play against/with one another."
  • "It is usually very difficult to get boys into the library, but National Gaming Day changed that. On November 14th, there were boys waiting outside for the library to open! The boys all came for the Wii bowling tournament. Although our group was small, we had more boys in the library at one time (for a non-summer reading program) than I have seen in my eleven years working here."
  • "My assistant (who also works in our school's Developmental Study Center) noticed that many of those students participated and were very successful at the games they played. While not always highly motivated or successful at more academic endeavors, they were able to compete with other students at the games they played and enjoyed the competition and especially the winning!"
  • "This a a great opportunity for the teen members of the Game Club at our high school to take a leadership role in planning and carrying out an event for teens, their families and the community."
  • "Two middle-schoolers, brothers, have very quietly attended our past two JTPL GAME DAY@ Your Library events. They had mostly played the Wii or watched others play. On Saturday we started with a big group game of Wits & Wagers, and then when that finished I offered Say Anything, "another game by those same guys." The two brothers came right over and played Say Anything with two 40-50-something librarians and three other kids for over an hour! They left briefly for a turn on the Wii--but came right back to jump into the next game, Taboo. Like several of our GAME DAY attendees, I don't think these boys had any intention of playing anything besides the Wii. They absolutely do not fit the profile of a typical library kid. But with gaming programs like we've started at our library, and national events like NGD promoted by the ALA and its terrific sponsors, we're certainly expanding the definition of a library kid!"
  • "Both high schoolers and middle schoolers played amicably where there had been friction in weeks past, amongst themselves and with library staff. Teens were polite, taking turns w/o argument and using "please" when asking for a hot dog. (We've served hot dogs as part of the refreshment choices the last two bimonthly game days. Attendance has increased substantially.) No squabbles over the games and no taunting."
  • "I'm a teen librarian with a dedicated teen room. Gaming is a great way for teens to get to know people outside their peer group. We have a teen who stutters a lot and doesn't interact much with the other kids who use the library. On Saturday he was playing with kids who normally ignore him (or worse) and I was right there gently moderating the interactions so everyone had a good time. Was it life changing? I don't think so. But I do think it helped build empathy and just gave them a positive shared experience they wouldn't have had otherwise."
  • "While Gaming Day was going on I didn't notice it, but when we looked at photos afterwards, we saw a table of people playing Bananagrams which included a senior citizen, a college student, several high school students, and an elementary school student. Where else would you find such a mix of ages interacting and having a fun time? In a family, of course, but none of these people were related...it was just a cross section of the community. Another table of kids playing Clue included three high school students, one middle schooler and three elementary school students...boys and girls, black and white and Mexican. We were all just having fun playing games, but it was rather heart-warming to see the diversity in the photos afterwards, especially in our very small rural town."
  • "One of our young patrons is blind. She brought her own deck of UNO cards with Braille. The kids enjoyed playing UNO and learning how she used Braille to play."
  • "We had an 80 year old senior who comes to play Wii bowling with other seniors on Friday mornings. Some teens challenged her to a game of Wii bowling on National Gaming Day @ Your Library and she WON! The kids were amazed and thought it was great."
  • "One of the parents went to the adult section to get on the internet while her son was in the program, and came back shocked at the number of people in the library and using the computers. She said she didn't think anyone used the library anymore, and noted that they had not come to the library in years before this program. She was impressed with how many services the library offers and what a vital part of the community it still is."
  • "I have had teens waiting all year for this--we had that much fun last year! I also did a 'Game Day' of this size on the Saturday of Teen Tech Week last year and plan on doing it again this coming year. Some of the things I overheard this year: 'I didn't know the library was this cool!', 'Can we do this every month?', 'Do we have to leave?', 'I love my life!' "
  • "We loved it! We're a small town, so our turnout was decent for such a program. It was great seeing teens and younger kids playing with adults. I'm excited about a senior who came in and offered to teach bridge to teens--I see this as a great intergenerational relationship-builder."
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