Posted by: Jared Seay | February 27, 2018

Hosting a Board Game Night at Your Library

Re-posted from Board in the library

This post from the blog “board in the library” gives a basic (and colorful) introduction to hosting a board game night at your library.

Board Game Night 101

Interested in starting a game night at your library? You’ve come to the right place. This basic primer will help you plan and host a successful game night for any target group or age. Whether your focus is on adults, seniors, families or school-aged children, these tips will guide your event to success.
Link to original post at boardinthe library
Posted by: Jared Seay | February 8, 2018

Latest C&RL News Issue on Library Escape Rooms

Breakout EDU: Helping Students Break Out of Their Comfort Zones

Hour-Escape-Rooms-live-escape-rooms-peterboroughThe February 2018 issue of C&RL News highlights the use of escape rooms in the library by showing how University of Albany, SUNY librarians use escape rooms in their library instruction.

College & Research Libraries News
Vol 79, No 2 (2018)
Breakout EDU: Helping Students Break Out of Their Comfort Zones
Susan Detwiler, Trudi Jacobson, and Kelsey O’Brien

Re-posted from School Library Journal by Heather Booth
July 14, 2016

Puzzles, mystery, a darkened library, a time limit, and the ominous feeling that a ghost just might be looking over your shoulder? Yes, please!

My library is this gorgeous 80+ year old building that’s been expanded thoughtfully so that the original building–a one-room stone space with tall windows, a fireplace, and impressive oak doors–has been preserved as a reading room. It’s not a place teens have much opportunity to enjoy unless they’re quietly studying for finals all alone. It’s quiet. It gets dark. The doors close behind you, and then…..

It becomes an ideal spot to try out a locked room/escape room program.

We hosted this escape room as an after-hours program. Teens entering 6th-10th grade arrived at the library before closing to register and get matched into teams. The meeting room was the designated “holding pen” where we provided board games and snacks while the teams waited their turn to be called into the puzzle room. Each team was given 15 minutes to solve a series of puzzles that would ultimately lead to the key that opened the door. It was a blast, and we’re in the process of planning another similar program for the fall.

Link HERE for rest of article on School Library Journal site

Other sections of this article include:


  • You can not do this program alone
  • You don’t have to come up with all of the puzzles on your own
  • You might want an actual camera
  • Tweens and teens are just different
  • Practice makes perfect
  • It’s a heck of a lot of fun!

Link HERE for full article on School Library Journal site

Posted by: Jared Seay | January 29, 2018

Games in Schools & Libraries Podcast

Games in Schools & Libraries Podcast
“Games in Schools and Libraries (GSL) is a podcast and blog dedicated to exploring how games are used in a wide variety of school and library related activities. The podcast is produced and the library side is hosted by Donald DennisStephanie Frey joins him to share their achievements and misadventures bringing games into the library. Kathleen Mercury is our amazing new host for the schools half of the podcast, sharing her incredible experiences and talking with educators.  Stephanie is also the editor-in-chief for the GSL Blog where we all share our thoughts and resources for using games of all types whether on a tabletop or on a screen.  The Games in Schools and Libraries podcast is produced by Inverse Genius in association with the Georgetown County Library System.”

“The Games in Schools and Libraries podcast usually drops on Fridays twice monthly with Donald as the producer and Stephanie Frey as the co-host.”

“The Games in Schools and Libraries podcast was created by Giles Pritchard, a teacher St Georges Rd Primary School in Shepparton Australia, and Donald Dennis, a librarian for the Georgetown County Library System, to look at games and their places in collections for either educational use or as part of a library collection. Giles produced the first run of the show.″

from the website

This is a production of the creative group of Inverse Genius.  “Inverse Genius is driven by the drive of Erik Dewey, the creative instability of Donald Dennis, and the savior fare of Isaac Shalev. These three created Inverse Genius as a place to share their thoughts and passions, and with the help of our extremely talented co-hosts, strive to bring you new media entertainment in the form of Inverse Genius branded podcasts.”

-from the web site

Posted by: Jared Seay | November 20, 2017

Using Augmented Reality to engage students in the library

By Leanna Fry Balci
Re-posted from Information Today: Europe

(November 17, 2017  ) Traditionally, the role of orienting students to the library has fallen to the library instruction/information literacy (LIIL) section of the BYU Library, and LIIL has required students attending first-year writing (i.e., freshman composition) library sessions to complete a library tour.

How the library tour has evolved

The library tour has taken many forms. For years, students checked out an audio tour and completed a paper-and-pencil quiz. This tour was offered to students outside of library class time and automatically marked them as freshmen to other library patrons. The tour technology evolved from the Walkman to the Discman to the iPod but always had the flavour—albeit unintentionally — of an act of freshmen hazing.

Recently, though, LIIL abandoned technology for a traditional guided tour. During library instruction time, groups of students were led through the library by librarians, teaching assistants, and other personnel. The tour consisted of information about the physical library as well as discussion of topics like keywords and browsing. Students were required to locate a book via call number (more challenging for students than anyone imagined) and to talk to library personnel at reference desks, the media center, and the research and writing center. The tour got students physically into the library and actually interacting with library services. Overall, this low-tech approach was a success but ultimately deemed unsustainable due to the number of employees required to guide approximately 2,500 students a semester.

Using AR to offer an interactive experience

With the goal of not only getting students into the library but getting them back into the building after their first-year library experience, LIIL is now exploring ARIS technology. Augmented Reality may be familiar to some in the form of the gaming app Pokémon Go. This technology replaces the traditional tour with an experience.

Students download an app that allows them to interact with different areas of the library, collect points, and earn rewards. ARIS includes GPS, which allows for player location and in-game placement of items. Students can walk to the items and interact with them as well as with other players. ARIS allows users to upload media for in-game uses such as videos, music, and pictures. For example, students may locate a help desk on the map and then activate a brief video giving information about that location.

Other features of ARIS include the ability to scan and read QR codes for easy logins and the ability to turn a photograph or object in the physical space into an interaction in the game. For example, scanning a 2-D map of the library brings up the map in a 3-D format, giving students a different perspective of the physical space.

In order to gamify the experience, ARIS allows for embedded javascript and the creation of items such as a leaderboard (right). Students are able to collect points during different stops and interactions in order to compete with other users. This sense of competition may be appealing to some students and encourage additional use of the app and visits to the library.

Despite the interactions offered by ARIS, it also has definite limitations. Because it is an open source software, development progresses slowly. For example, it is currently only available in iOS, although an android version is promised in the future. Because of this limitation, the library offers students iPods already loaded with the app. However, not having the app downloaded on an individual’s device discourages students from returning to the library to continue the experience. The GPS also has limitations in accuracy. Bluetooth beacons, however, have been used to rectify this problem, acting as location triggers. In addition, the BYU Library is fortunate to employ several students with the skills and capabilities to make this app a reality, something that may not be possible at all libraries due to funding.

User feedback is currently being gathered and assessment of the app will determine expansion of experiences offered to students beyond the traditional first-year library orientation tour. Thus far, though, the technology seems promising as an interactive way to invite students into the library.

Leanna Fry Balci works at the Library, Brigham Young University (BYU), USA.

Posted by: Jared Seay | July 6, 2017

The Benefits of Tabletop Games for Libraries

Beyond Monopoly and Candyland

Article by Dawn Abron originally published in American Libraries 6/26/17

From ALA Annual Conference:

In Monday’s panel discussion “Table-Top Games 101” at the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage of ALA Annual Conference, audience members learned that librarians are noticing the popularity of tabletop games and capitalizing on the benefits for their patrons. Tabletop game experts gave a quick-and-dirty rundown of the types of games available and the best ones for libraries.

Card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh can be played between two people or as tournaments between four people. The objective is to get your opponent’s score to zero. The benefits of card games include sportsmanship, problem solving, and strategy. Meanwhile, role-playing games such as Ticket to Ride allow players to collaboratively use their imagination to tell stories.

Libraries can also host a make-your-own-board game night. Patrons can create a traditional board game or a cooperative game similar to Pathfinder. Patrons can even create their own pawns or die using a 3D printer. Relatedly, libraries can be a resource for game developers who need a place to make prototypes.

Because of the popularity of tabletop games, International Games Day is now International Games Week (October 29–November 4), sponsored by ALA’s GameRT.

The pros gave some useful suggestions for incorporating tabletop games into your programming, such as contacting local game shops to choose, teach, and even run games.




pandemicOriginal Site:

The Board in the Library blog was spawned after I (John Pappas) was invited to write a series of posts on board gaming and libraries for Webjunction. That series served as an introduction to modern board games and how they can have a productive presence in the library space.  Feel free to catch up on the fun and read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | and Part Six.

While those posts presented a foundation for understanding modern board games and gaming in the library, the posts here will focus on reviews, session reports of board gaming events, lists, and assorted ephemera from a variety of gaming librarians. Ideally this blog will serve to be enlightening, strange, diverse and exciting for anyone interested in this particular area of geekiness.

Posted by: Jared Seay | May 19, 2017

Level Up your LMC with Game-based Learning

By Kat Shanahan
Re-posted from Filament Games: Real games. Real learning

We’ve shared classroom spotlights, efficacy studies, and testimonials that have demonstrated the benefits of using games in the classroom. But game-based learning can happen anywhere! We hear all the time that makerspaces and library media centers are also great places to try game-based learning. As an LMC Specialist, you might be in charge of some of the only devices or computers in the building, so it makes sense to provide an engaging learning environment with these tools. By using games in your LMC, you’re allowing students to experience gameplay in their own way, creating personalized, immersive learning experiences. Here are four reasons to level up your LMC with game-based learning.

Personalized Learning
Digital learning games allow students to explore content at their own pace. In library media centers, students are able to explore game levels, experiment in different environments, and build their creative problem solving skills free from distractions or time constraints. They’re free to try, fail, and iterate at their own pace – creating a truly personalized learning experience while building 21st Century Skills.

Immersive Experiences
What better place to help students understand complex concepts than an LMC? Surrounded by additional learning resources, students can fully immerse themselves in the content being presented through the game. If at any point they get stuck or want to learn more about specific topics, they’re surrounded by books, magazines, and other types of technology that can help them expand their understanding.

Engaging Resources
We’re not of the mindset that kids need to be “tricked” into learning, just as an LMC Specialist doesn’t want to trick students into a good book — learning should be enjoyable no matter the tool! We want a student’s game-based learning experience to be as engaging and rewarding as traditional video games. The added benefit of educational games is that students are exposed to experiences that are designed with specific learning outcomes in mind. Well-designed learning games go a step farther than traditional entertainment games and teach children skills and concepts that will impact their lives after the game is turned off. Well-designed learning games are engaging enough to keep students’ attention while unleashing their learning potential.

Equal Access
Library media centers are unique in that they provide equal access for every student in your school. Using game-based learning in your media center provides high-quality digital learning resources to students who may not have teachers who use game-based learning in their classroom, or personally own theses devices at home. Game-based learning has been shown to increase learning and engagement in students that may be struggling with traditional classroom teaching methods – your LMC is a great place to show support for those struggling students.

Have you already leveled up your LMC? Let us know how you’re using games-based learning in the comments below!

Link to examples of GBL and this site HERE


Posted by: Jared Seay | April 13, 2017

International Games Week: Oct 29-Nov 4

Reposted from
International Games Day is now International Games Week. This change allows expansion into school programs and more flexibility in scheduling. This year’s event will take place from October 29th through November 4th. Libraries can choose to host one event or several. We are still gathering sponsors and preparing promotional materials. Watch for registration to open in early June.

SEE ALSO: ALA Games & Gaming Round Table (GameRT)

Posted by: Jared Seay | March 28, 2017

Why are learning games not in the cards?

By Christoper B. Allen

Re-posted from Games & Learning

It may be a digital download world for many, but more and more 21st-century gamers are breaking out decks of cards to play hybrid digital card games.

With roughly 30 million registered users in its first year of release, Blizzard Entertainment’s Collectible Card Game (CCG) Hearthstone has attracted more than twice as many players its aesthetic forbearer and longstanding revenue juggernaut World of Warcraft, which at its 2010 peak boasted about 12 million users.

Turns out people really love colorful cards with goblins, demons and gnomes and spells, and smashing them into each other on a beautifully animated, interactive digital game board online for free.

Click HERE for remainder of article from Games and Learning

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