On Saturday, November 3, more than 20,000 people in communities across the U.S. and around the world will celebrate the American Library Association’s fifth annual International Games Day @ your library. The event aims to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.
Why do libraries celebrate gaming? Library gaming programs encourage interaction between patrons of all ages and cultures. As games have evolved over the years to become more dynamic—requiring more interaction and socialization amongst players—so have libraries, by re-energizing themselves as community learning centers. Libraries still provide traditional services, but continue to change by offering new formats like video games and programs like family gaming nights.
“Games, like libraries, are ever changing and intergenerational,” said ALA President Maureen Sullivan. “No matter what age, game or experience level, gaming in libraries provides a space for diverse groups of people to come together in a way they can’t anywhere else in the community—in the spirit of play.”
Through the generous donations from International Games Day sponsors, this year registered libraries will receive free copies of Bookworm and Bookworm Adventures (2,000 copies via PopCap); Labyrinth (1,000 copies plus gaming coupons via Ravensburger); and access to all of GameTable Online’s games the day of the event.
During International Games Day, participating libraries from all fifty states and countries abroad, including Australia, Japan, the Philippines and the United Kingdom, will hold a variety of gaming activities that include modern board games, video games, card games, and role-playing games, as well as two international video game tournaments featuring the games Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart time trials.
For example, at New York’s Mid-Manhattan Library, classic board games like Scrabble, Battleship, Checkers, and Taboo will be available along-side newer games such Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and others available on gaming consoles. More and more libraries are also featuring modern board games that are more social and involve more strategy than luck, such as Apples to Apples, Blokus, Carcassonne, and other more interactive titles.
International Games Day @ your library is an annual initiative of the American Library Association to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational and social value of all types of games. In 2011, nearly 28,000 people of all ages participated in gaming events at more than 1,400 registered libraries in the U.S., and twenty-one international libraries in fourteen countries. The ALA anticipates that more than 20,000 people will participate in International Games Day 2012.