International Games Day @ your library Game on November 18, 2017!

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.


IGD14 final report

Posted on December 10, 2014

Hi folks! Here are some initial stats based on the survey responses to 10 December. It's not too late to still have your say though! More information is always helpful, so if you haven't already done so, fill out the survey at

A note on estimates

We have received 421 replies to our survey (just over a one-third response rate from 1257 registrations). When reporting the numbers, I'll give the confirmed number from just those libraries, and then give an estimate based on multiplying their average out across the total number of registrations. However, on the grounds that self-selection may result in libraries with high numbers being more likely to respond to the survey (though there's no problem from our end with a small IGD event as long as everyone had fun!), I'll report 2 estimates - a flat average and then a weighted average.

The flat average will simply be "the average at our responding libraries was X; multiply that average by the number of registrations". This is likely to be a little higher than the reality on the day.

The weighted average will assume that non-responding libraries had, on average, only half the numbers of responding libraries. So if our 421 responding libraries average 10 each, the remaining libraries will be assumed to have 5 each. This is likely to be a little lower than the reality on the day, but for the sake of being conservative in our estimates this is the number I'll use.

Participating libraries

We had 1257 libraries register, but as I indicated in the final pre-IGD update, many of those registrations covered multiple IGD celebrations.

Of our 421 survey responses, enough libraries indicated that they had done this that (even taking into account last-minute cancellations) the average registration counted for 1.152 libraries! In other words, for every 15 registrations we had just over 17 actual participating libraries. From 1257 registrations we get:

  • Flat average - 1,448 libraries
  • Weighted average - 1,385 libraries

(Neither of these numbers includes the 90 Scandinavian libraries that registered for Nordic Game Day but not IGD. Adding them to our weighted average means that we had 1475 libraries around the world playing on IGD!)

Public participation

From our 421 responses thus far, 400 gave us attendance figures (the record was 600 at Biblioteket i Ekerö centrum, in Ekerö, Stockholm, Sweden! Congrats folks!). At those 400 libraries, the total confirmed participation was 18261 people - an average of 45.65 per registration.

Expanding that to 1257 registrations, we get:

  • Flat average - 57,385 participants
  • Weighted average - 37,823 participants

Expanding that further to include the 90 confirmed Nordics that didn't register with IGD, we get:

  • Flat average - 61,494 participants
  • Weighted average - 39,877 participants

Library registrations by region and country

Africa (2)

  • Nigeria (1)
  • South Africa (1)

Americas (1183)

  • Central America & Caribbean (2)
    • Cuba (1)
    • Honduras (1)
  • North America (1177)
    • Canada (26)
    • USA (1151)
  • South America (5)
    • Argentina (3)
    • Paraguay (2)

Asia, Oceania & the Pacific (88)

  • Asia (11)
    • Bangladesh (1)
    • China (2)
    • India (1)
    • Indonesia (1)
    • Japan (3)
    • Philippines (3)
  • Australasia (75)
    • Australia (75)
  • Middle East (1)
    • Iran (1)
  • Pacific (1)
    • Northern Mariana Islands (1)

Europe (68, or 158 with Nordic Game Day libraries)

  • Far Eastern Europe (2)

    • Belarus (1)
    • Russia (1)
  • Eastern Europe (4, or 35 with NGD libraries)

    • Romania (1)
    • Finland (3, or 34 NGD)
  • Central Europe (41, or 100 with NGD libraries)

    • Bosnia and Herzegovina (1)
    • Croatia (1)
    • Germany (7)
    • Denmark (9, or 29 NGD)
    • Italy (10)
    • Kosovo (1)
    • Norway (5, or 35 NGD)
    • Serbia (1)
    • Sweden (5, or 12 NGD)
  • Western Europe/GMT (19, or 21 with NGD libraries)
    • UK (16)
    • Ireland (1)
    • Iceland (2, or 4 NGD)
    • Portugal (2)
  • North Atlantic (1)
    • Greenland [Denmark] (1)


IGD outcomes

One of the questions we ask is about the actual results of the day. Here's what folks said were the outcomes for them of running IGD (again, this is out of 421 respondents):

General comments

Here's a (small, believe it or not) sampling of comments on and stories from the day (which come from all over - I recognise comments from places including Australia, Canada, Honduras, Italy, Serbia and the USA):

  • "'Playing games at the library? Who knew?' -- from one of our newer patrons!"
  • "This was our first International Games Day. We had a great day and pulled in over 100 patrons. We were not able to participate in all of the activities offered due to staffing and time, but because we had such a success this year I hope to be able to participate in many more next year. Thanks for all of your hard work and great ideas."
  • "I love how big this is growing - I am grateful for all of the donations from the game companies.  It is a great time to have a games day - many patrons state that this gives them ideas for Christmas gifts. "
  • "The students (our event was for our middle school and high school students only) loved telling me all about their favorite games (online and video).  A lot of it was Greek to me, but I loved having those conversations and seeing their enthusiasm and passion for the games.  I was also glad that they got to see that we are interested in them and what they find interesting."
  • "La partecipazione del Multiplo all’IGD è stata caratterizzata dalla “invasione” degli spazi dedicati ai libri e alla lettura da parte dei giochi da tavolo: una scelta fatta sia per differenziare la giornata in una struttura che ha già il gioco tra i suoi servizi con spazi dedicati, che per far incontrare il gioco a chi ne ha perso l’abitudine o non lo vede come un’attività culturale al pari di qualsiasi altra. La concomitanza di più proposte differenziate ha richiamato l’attenzione di fasce di pubblico diverse per età e interessi: adulti, giovani e ragazzi che si sono lasciati incuriosire dall’una o dall’altra riuscendo anche a partecipare a più di una iniziativa. Si è creata una bella sinergia tra le associazioni di gioco, che hanno partecipato con esperti dimostratori e proposte tematiche, e la sfida gaming che non ha mancato di interessare alcuni di loro; i ragazzini venuti per il gaming a loro volta hanno poi partecipato anche al gioco da tavolo scoprendo giochi nuovi, intelligenti e divertenti."
    [Ci scusiamo per la traduzione goffo!/Apologies for the clumsy translation!]
    ("Multiplo Cultural Centre's participation in IGD was characterized by the 'invasion' of the spaces dedicated to books and reading by tabletop games: we made a choice to differentiate the day in a facility that already has the game among its services with dedicated spaces, in order to reintroduce the game to those who lost the habit or do not see it as a cultural activity like any other. The combination of several different offerings drew the attention of audiences of different ages and interests: adults, young people and children who are left intrigued by either managing to participate in more than one initiative... the kids came for videogaming, then in turn also participated in board games, discovering new, intelligent and entertaining games.)
  • "To promote IGD we had guest speakers on the video game industry and game theory/economics. The students and staff both found these very interesting."
  • "One child stated on his way out of our program room 'I just love coming to the library!'"
  • "People began to show up on the days following the event asking to use meeting rooms to play games in our collection."
  • "One parent did not want her son to register because 'games were a waste of time.' I had posted some information on the web site that I have collected from ALA's promotional materials over the years and directed her to it. They came to our game day!"
  • "If there were people (including the teens & children) who knew how to play a particular game they shared their knowledge with others who didn't know."
  • "A few students stopped by to take a break from studying. After playing a game they felt revived... ready to study again."
  • "Our first attendees were an elderly couple who got straight in to the arcade machines, it was AWESOME!"
  • "For those who attended, it was a wonderful day of seeing friends, gaming, visiting and just relaxing in an environment that wasn't demanding their attention or money.  It felt like a community use area to have the option to game w/o being at a store, someone's home, or a restaurant."
  • "My favorite interaction was with a parent who came in - 40s heavy metal dude - with donations from local comic and card shop of Magic: the Gathering starter decks. He invited other gaming dads to bring their kids that day to get their kids excited about card and roleplaying games so they could have a place to game each week. We'd been running a club for 3 years but the same few kids, and his complaint with the card shops was their events were all adults so he wanted to revive a club for kids and made a commitment to be there each week to get it going. "
  • "'Will this be every week?'
    'What time does it start next week?'
    'I used to play this game all the time with my dad!'"
  • "We had two donations of Fluxx Oz, and we played a single elimination rock/paper/scissors tournament to decide who got the extra copy.  Kids to adults, all were laughing by the end."
  • "Since working on the plan and execution of our IGD14 event, I've become interested in tying gaming and brain exercises to library programming for older adults. Even more so after last night's 7.30 Report:"
  • "This is my 5th year participating, and it is by far my favorite event of the year.  Thank you so much to everyone involved in IGD for all of the hard work you put into this event - it truly shows."
  • "I noticed kids playing the game and using school based skills like adding and counting, calculating. All stuff they hate, but suddenly were using in 'real life'."
  • "Some of the older staff members were very surprised at how beneficial and productive this event was. They were surprised at the level of interaction with one another that the children and teens were displaying. Also, they were surprised at how understanding the library patrons were towards the slightly-noisier-than-usual teens and children; staff received no complaints about the event."
  • "We have a small group of teens whose participation in library gaming is one of their few social activities.  They look forward to it and it has given them a way to connect with other young people who share their interests.  It has been huge for them!"
  • "Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make it happen. We found that with a little food, people stayed longer than they otherwise would have! It was a really fun day!"
  • "We had lots of great feedback. We pulled out a few vintage gaming consoles and had some parents that really enjoyed showing their kids that games that they grew up playing. We also launched our Minecraft servers, and watching the kids work together and show those less skilled how to play or do things was really great."
  • "One Mom told me we should do this more often and asked if our game collection was available for checkout."
  • "As someone who firmly believes in 'learning through play,' I have always loved IGD. I want to bring more and more games into my library and offer sit-downs with parents about what their children (or them, if they want to play!) are learning with each game, but it's been a slow process. The work IGD does to bring attention to gaming and its benefits is invaluable. Thank you so much!"
  • "I feel that this is a great way to showcase our libraries and invite a different group of people into our libraries. It creates fun and excitement and helps others to see that libraries are fun, relevant, and important."
  • "A great way for our library to be a vital and fun destination.  Two parents asked what games had to do with the library.  After discussion they realized that we are not just about the books. Very positive."
  • "We partnered with the regional Manager Dan Blodgett of It's Your Move game store who came and showed staff about 20 games of appeal to kids and teens, and adults. It was a HUGE hit with staff... We unexpectedly got Yu-Gi-Oh! cards that turned out to inspire a group to come play regularly at the library, addressing one of our goals in increase teen participation in library programs."
  • Little brother bugging his older sibling to let him join a game of Munchkin:
    'We're in the middle of the game!'
    'But I want to play too!'
    'You're too Young to understand the rules!'
    'Am not! Please let me join!'
    'Can I join the next game?'
    'Are you done yet?'
    Of course, by the time the munchkins were actually done backstabbing one another, the younger kid had found the Air Hockey table..."
  • "We had a local middle school robotics team come in for this event. They are working on designing a board game to help high school students learn the periodic table. They loved learning about new games and game design theory from our guest speaker."
  • "One teenager, who is always a handful, started out playing Scrabble trying to cheat the entire time. I was no nonsense and told him there will be no cheating if we are going to take the time to play and he actually agreed. I showed him how to get a word in worth 39 points and he lost only by 2 points!"
  • "One of my favorite things about IGD was there were no 'rules' for participating libraries - we didn't have to do this or have to do that.  Each library could plan as little or as much as they wanted.  That made it do-able for me!"
  • "I also put on a Game Jam session during IGD, getting a couple teens to create their own board game in 20 minutes with a simple board and random game pieces.  It went over very well, and it's something I would do again.  I got the idea from a Game Jam session at the ALA 2014 conference in Las Vegas."
  • "We have had a great time, and will try to do this again in near future. Libraries are definitely the best spaces for playing games. We all need to put some more effort to make people see them like spaces where you can read, study, relax, play and have a great time."
  • "A few parents (and members of the press)  became aware of the educational value that is held in game play.  In a reverse fashion, parents also became aware of the value of reading books about video games (yes, it still counts as reading!)."
  • "Our middle school principal dropped by and played a game of chess with one of his students."
  • "I talked with a number of adults (not parents, just patrons passing through the library) who were overjoyed to see kids and families have such visible fun in the library. There is something infectious in the library environment when people are having fun playing games--it spreads to others."
  • "Yay!"


 Global Gossip Game

The final report for this year's GGG is still waiting to hear back from some satellite games, but should go up soon. Meanwhile I can report that we had 996 players, playing the game in 11 languages (Cantonese, Croatian, Danish, English, French, German, Mandarin, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish), taking the Secret through 375 variations, over 26.5 hours, at 76 libraries (plus 3 more that tried to join in), in 17 countries! (Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Greenland (an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark), India, Italy, Kosovo, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, the UK, and the USA (including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)

The game started as “Games are… an intrinsic and natural feature of human nature”, a quote from pioneering education theorist Lev Vygotsky’s 1926 book Educational Psychology. The game branched three times, turning into:

  • 10 miles of 10 (Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX, USA)
  • Allen (Mark Twain Neighborhood Library, Long Beach, CA, USA) - possibly a reference to a certain BBC marmot?
  • My skinny knees (Placer County Library, Auburn, CA, USA)
  • It's snowing (Clinton Public Library, Clinton, WI, USA)

Some comments:

  • "It was a a terrific way to kick-start the day. We were the first players; it got several members quickly engaged and happy to pass on the secret message to other folks in the library."
  • "It is very funny, great idea!"
  • "Everything is in English... All the publicity, the explication, etc. Would be interesting to have it in other language, like French." (This is a great point and something I would love to see happen! Are there any volunteers who can help with translations? But meanwhile, for future reference, we actually strongly encourage people to at least play in whatever language they like 😀 )
  • "The Global Gossip worked well. I actually created a Google Map of all the library locations to show participants where the "secret" was travelling, which they thought was cool."
  • "At the end of GGG, the last player who was supposed to send the phrase to receiving library, was blushing and asked is there any rule about bad words. Game organizer told him of course. He was relieved and said 'Oh, good! Then it's a horse.'"
  • "Our participants loved the Global Gossip Game!  They were so interested to hear that this game was played all over the world today.  Our youngest participant was 3 and our eldest was in her 60s. We found that the inter-generational aspect really changed the game dramatically. Our adult participants were the sources of each of our phrase deviations (which is not to say that everyone over the age of 18 has hearing problems!). Including a more diverse age group really made the GGG event more exciting."
  • "I heard college students discussing the Global Gossip Game, and how it was sort of silly to play, but would be interesting to see how the phrase morphs across the world, and how different cultures might play the game differently."
  • Awesome game! Great fun and easy to connect patrons who would normally not talk to one another. Great community builder!"
  • "We had a lot of fun. People were more likely to participate when they learned how far it had travelled. Several families found it entertaining when their youngest would shout the first part of the secret and then whisper the last portion when they remembered that 'it is a secret and you have to whisper'."


International Minecraft Hunger Games

See the victory report for the stats from this event! Some comments:

  • "The kids had an absolute blast! We connected with another local library and are organising future games between us. There were a few tech glitches but it all worked out in the end. Really glad there was a week to test it all out. Thanks!"
  • "The library got great engagement from our target demographic for this event (upper primary and lower secondary aged students). We held three Reapings in the lead up to the Regional Semi Finals on IGD, and despite some technical difficulties, the kids who attended seemed to have a great time. We've had quite a few requests for a regular Minecraft club/activity at the library, and are following up on this. Even better, library staff were able to build rapport with some of our 'problem' teens by being able to connect on something fun where we deferred to them as experts. I would highly recommend this type of event to public libraries, and commend AADL for their efforts in coordinating this project."
  • "It was our first time running a Minecraft event and even though we started late with advertising it (and this only on a small scale) we immediately got registrations for the event and quite a number of people showing up. It definitely got us hooked for more - even trying to run our own server."
  • "One of our teens didn't really want to participate but did because everyone else was; he ended up winning at our library. He then came in second at our semi-final. It was awesome to see his excitement mount through out the day and especially during the semi-final. The map was a great way for those not playing to see what was happening as well as participating in my feeding information to the players. It was also cool to run into players from other libraries we knew in other states during the semi-finals."
  • "We run a weekly Game Club program and host a library server already. Our patron was the winner [Congrats again! - Ed.] and we sent out a follow up press release with photo and signed release form. School Library Journal contacted us based on what AADL wrote on the ALA IGD blog".
  • "The kids had a blast playing with people from other libraries! I would love to host another similar program in the near future."

There were also comments - expressed with varying degrees of humour - about the mailing lists blowing up and keeping people's inboxes rather busy. Rest assured that the lesson has been learned and we will work on this for next year!


Comments about Donations

As always, the generosity of our donors was a hugely important part of the day's success. Here's a sampling of what libraries had to say about the donations this year:

GameTable Online

  • "Thank you so much for providing our and other schools with the opportunity and the resources."
  • "Thank you for your generous contribution to IGD.  It is so fun to be able to offer GameTable Online to our patrons for free!"
  • "Thanks for allowing us to preview your site for Game Day!"

Good Games

  • "Thanks for the donations! We have made them available to the public at all times and we really appreciate your involvement!"
  • "These games were such a hit with the kids I cannot thank the company enough."
  • "We'd like to thank Good Games for their kind donations of the board games. We appreciate their support and effort!"
  • "Very well received and the families that took them home to start their gaming collection were very happy."
  • "All the games purchased for the event, and for loaning after the event, were from our local Good Games store."


  • "Many of our Yu-Gi-Oh! players come from an underprivileged background. The decks provided by Konami allowed our kids to play each other on equal footing. Thank You!"
  • "Thank you for sending Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and instructions!  During the game day we had local Yu-Gi-Oh! players come to the event and we are now going to start having weekly Yu-Gi-Oh! meetings alongside our Pokemon League."
  • "Yu-Gi-Oh! was our biggest hit at IGD this year. Thank you so much for supplying our library with trading cards, mats, and instructions. We all had a lot of fun learning how to play."

Looney Labs

  • "Thank you so much for donating Oz Fluxx and Pink Hijinx to the Ephrata Public Library. Both of the games were pretty popular. A lot of people commented that they really enjoyed the combination of simplicity and strategy employed in Pink Hijinx. Thank you again!"
  • "Thank you so much! Fluxx is awesome and I've loved learning Pink Hijinx."
  • "We appreciate your games and your support of libraries."
  • "Thanks for Oz Fluxx and Pink Hijinks.  They were an important part of our game day and Pink Hijinks was a favorite.  Thanks for making such innovative games and supporting libraries by sharing them with us."


  • "This kit is a great start to our role-playing collection. Thanks for the kind donation!"
  • "Pathfinder is such a great game for libraries - the fact that there is a line of published fiction that is set in the same world YOU get to adventure in really excited people because they felt like they were stepping into a larger, "living" world. (And that's before we even mention the Pathfinder Society!) Plus of course the graphics are better than any videogame could ever manage, and the freedom to improvise outside a pre-programmed set of possible actions and really play a character rather than a set of statistics, makes it all so much more compelling!"
  • "Our college kids love playing role playing games. Thanks! This will continue to get great use on our game nights."
  • "My gamer friends have been vaguely encouraging about International Games Day, but not super excited, because they assumed that it would only be "non-gamer" games for a general audience. But when I told them Paizo had come on board, they really sat up and took notice! Thanks for helping get roleplaying games - and roleplaying gamers - into the library! (Where we belong, I might add!)"


  • "Thank you so much for sponsoring International Games Day 2014! Enchanted Forest was an important game to me as a child, and it was a wonderful experience to share it with the younger generation. They were just as captivated with it as I was as a kid. Thanks again for supporting such an important event in our libraries!"
  • "Kids at our library loved Bugs in the Kitchen, and I think their parents had just as much fun playing as they did."
  • "Thank you for your support of libraries and teens!  Your donation means the world to us! Bugs in the Kitchen was the big hit! Kids still come in and ask for that game to play during their lunch break!"

Simply Fun

  • "LOVED!!! LOVED Walk the Dog. We are still playing it and the kids cry "don't take my babies" when the dog catcher card is drawn.  Thank you so much for this game!"
  • "Walk the Dog was the only game anyone played on IGD. It was played by a preteen Spanish-speaker and a middle-aged disabled woman (and a staff member). Two people who would not have otherwise engaged with each other played three rounds of this game and had a great time!"
  • "Thanks! My younger kids loved Walk the Dog."


  • "Thanks for the download of Golden Sky Stories. We have never had anything like that at our library before."
  • "My teens are really looking forward to playing this!"
  • "We are so thankful to [Starline] for the download. We are looking to build a small collection of RPGs for youth and families, so this is a perfect complement to our program. We have parents who have specifically requested RPGs to play with their kids, so we will be referring them to Golden Sky."
  • "The game was beautiful and so engaging! Visitors absolutely loved playing it and immediately ran out to buy their own copies. Thank you so much!"

Steve Jackson Games

  • "Castellan was very educational.  Please continue creating these awesome games for our patrons."
  • "Wow! Thank you for your generous gift! We'll be using the games a lot in teen programs in the future."
  • "I have loved your games since the 70s and I really love getting them into the hands of first time gamers, so they can enjoy them as well."
  • "My teens LOVE Munchkin!"


  • "Tapple was a big hit with our patrons!"
  • "This was a big hit with parents and kids. It is good for all ages."
  • "Some of our teens had a great time playing Crossways. Thanks for the donation!"
  • "I didn't request the donation this year, but I requested it last year, and I'm happy to report that it's made plenty of folks happy ever since - including at this year's IGD! Thanks again!"

Thank you to all our donors for sharing the day with us!


And that's about it for this year! I'm going to follow up with some reflections and thankyous shortly, but the most important thanks once again to all the libraries (and library staff) who joined us for another fabulous event. Keep November 21 free next year!

(And before I sign out - happy mostly-belated International Human Rights Day to everyone! Sorry, couldn't resist the chance to get my two favourite International Days in a single post 🙂 )

International Minecraft Hunger Games – THE VICTOR!

Posted on November 17, 2014

of the


There were legends. Legends of a time when The Brothers of Super Smash Brawled across the Nation, delighting libraries of all types. With GT SYSTEM the glue that knitted cultures together, Libraries sent their bravest warriors into battle, with only one Library standing at the end of each November.

But one day, that all came to an end. Nintendo shut down the Brawl Servers, and the International Gaming Day Faithful looked to Michigan, wondering what could possibly come next, to fill the void left by this epic event that, since 2008, had held happy fighters at libraries across the nation.

Out of the ashes of a vanished server infrastructure arose a new opportunity; taking players not only from across the country but around the world into the worlds of Minecraft, trapping them in arenas, and forcing them to fight. To the death. Just like in the book!


Library districts arose across the Globe. Eventually 94 Districts organized themselves, 70 from what some would call Panem, 11 from the mysterious Old World of Europe, and 14 from the dangerous coasts of Australia. Each District chose a number and a specialty, and promised two Tributes, one Boy, and one Girl, to fight for their honor on International Games Day.

With a Minecraft Hunger Games server made available to each District, Reapings began in the week leading up to the day itself, as Libraries sent their young Minecrafters into battle to determine which among them possessed the skill, the knowledge, and the spirit to become a Victor.


With all in readiness, the Regional Semifinals swept across the globe with the night, beginning with the Australian Regionals. The Arena welcomed Tributes from Districts like District 79, Ivanhoe Library: The Art Deco Clock District, and District 150 in Monash, the Surprisingly Good Takeaway District. Eventually the two young Tributes from District 246, the Grafton Library in Grafton, NSW, survived to become the Australian Victors, ready to represent their Nation in the International Minecraft Hunger Games. GTSYSTEM Salutes the Tributes from all the Australian Districts, who fought with bravery and honor in the Arena, only to perish at the hands of the Tributes from Grafton.


Then the wave of battle reached Europe, and Tributes from Germany and Scandanavia met at the Server of the University library "Svetozar Markovic" in Belgrade, Serbia, the Science District. When the cannon had roared for the last time, the Tributes from District 447 at Stadtbücherei Münster in Germany, the Surviving You district, had indeed survived and claimed the right to represent all of the old world against the roiling masses of Minecraft Enthusiasts to be found across the Atlantic.


At last it was time for the 70 North American Districts to fight for supremacy. The Arena swelled with Tributes, leading to a quick split into two Arenas; one for the densely-districted East Coast, and another for the rest of what had once been North America. After much Minecraft Mayhem, the Tributes from District 708 in Providence, Rhode Island, the Advanced Wizardry District, had become Victors of the East, while the Tributes from District 303 at Denver Public Library, the Hatching Schemes District, had won out the west. Many Tributes lay where they had fallen, often for full seconds, before jumping up and joining other Arenas to play for "fun".


There was no hope for the Tributes. 8 skilled young players had fought their way to Victory and a place in the International Minecraft Hunger Games finals, but only one would survive. The Tributes found themselves in a small arena with few places to hide and even fewer chests to find weapons or sustenance. Before long, only two Tributes still lived; Rexalicious from StaBüMü in Germany, and CadyBrun from Providence. They charged at each other, bringing the week of competition to an intense climax. When the pixelly dust had settled Rex had fallen... and CadyBrun had survived.


CadyBrun, the Tribute from District 708 in Providence Rhode Island, playing at the Providence Community Library, had won the 2014 International Minecraft Hunger Games for International Gaming Day. With thousands of matches played throughout the week, and more than 50 Minecraft servers operating at once, the event had been a resounding success, leaving only one question:


What will the Gamemakers at GTSYSTEM, a service of Ann Arbor District Library, come up with next year?



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'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.

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