Gaming @ Your Library

by Shelley Macon, Head Editor, INALJ Florida

Gaming @ Your Library

shelleym1There are many diverse (and often heated) opinions on whether video games belong in libraries or library collections.  Are they library-worthy digital media?  Are there benefits to playing video games in terms of social issues and their educational value (including their link to literacy)?  Regardless of your view on this topic or these questions, games and gaming draw people to libraries.  The results of the International Games Days and other library gaming initiatives, clearly show that people, not just children and young adults, will come to libraries for gaming.  So why wait for an annual event to bring gaming to your library?  It is something libraries can offer year-round.  The ALA wiki even states that:

Gaming services epitomize library as third place, creating a community gathering spot between home and work/school. That third place encourages play, socialization, and cultural enrichment. Libraries looking for ways to reach beyond their traditional patron base are turning to gaming.

Board games, card games, and videogames are, in essence, information, and the human act of telling stories, presented in new formats that involve the player. Games may fulfill a library’s mission to provide cultural, recreational, and entertaining materials; to provide academic curriculum support; or to provide resources and support their industry or profession.
Retrieved from

So, why not try it at your library? Here are some resources to get you started.

ALA Professional Tips Wiki:  Gaming
The ALA has compiled a great  set of resources on this topic and created a toolkit for building gaming at your library.

ALA Techsource:  Gaming and Libraries
This site will help keep you up to date on news concerning gaming in libraries.  Check out their Library Technology Reports also.  Some of them contain great articles on gaming.

Google LibGaming listserv
A listserv dedicated to promoting gaming in libraries.

Bringing Gaming (and Gamers) to Your Library:  100 Tips and Resources
The Open Education Database has compiled a list of tips and resources to help plan a gaming event at your library.

International Games Day
This is the official home of the International Games Day event.  It is never to early to start planning.

Bridging Generation:  Games, Gamers, & Gaming
by M. Brandon Robbins
This article reviews some games your library may be interested in offering.

Video Gaming in Libraries 101 and Video Gaming in Libraries:  ONE YEAR LATER
by Justin Hoenke
These two slide shows are freely available on slideshare.  Who knows?  They may help you change some minds about video games in libraries.

Libraries should be fun places.  Get playing!

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.