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Billy the Hut
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So my wonderful wife is in a book club at our local library. A few days ago after her monthly meeting there she came home with a flyer. The folks at the library here in Malden Massachusetts decided to try an adult board game night.

So I figured I'd check it out. The library provided a bunch of games; Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Catan, Forbidden Island, and a bunch more. I had intended to bring a game or two but it was raining and I was walking so I relied on the library & I was fairly impressed with their collection. About 12 to 16 folks showed up. I'd guess I was one of about 4 hard-core board gamers who were present. Although I was the only one from my regular group to show.

I ended up playing Ticket to Ride with three women who were new to the game. So I showed them how to play the game & I played nice (didn't block and gave them suggestions). Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and were eager to see the library hold another night.

As the entire group started to finish up that seemed to be the feeling of folks who tried the other games as well. It was a nice cross section of people too. At least half the group was women, & the age range varied from mid/late 20ies to a couple of seniors.

So I have to say this was really cool. It's another venue for me to enjoy my hobby if it continues. Unlike in my regular group I got to meet new people. Other libraries need to do this sort of thing!
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Christopher DeFrisco
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Excellent!
Keep us informed.
(and I LOVE your avatar!)
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Pater Absurdus
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That does sound awesome!
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David
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That's cool. 12 to 16 folks is quite an impressive attendance! I only ever managed 7 or 8 at our toy library. But at least one other person showed up at each event so there was always some gaming to be had...

Also cue Scott in 3...2...1...
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Billy the Hut
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Well, in checking the Library’s website this morning I learned they apparently found the event successful enough that they now scheduled another one for next month. thumbsup thumbsup

David, I did suspect on my way there last night that Scott might have had a hand in this event happening, if nothing else, at least in an indirect way. He’s at MIT for a year, (Cambridge Ma is just a couple towns over) and a few months back he gave an open lecture that I attended. This inspired me to request his book at the Malden library. They had to get if for me via inter-library loan. Anyway when it arrived & I went to pick it up the Librarians passed it around before handing it to me. They were mumbling phrases like “we should have this book”, “I need to read this” & so on. So maybe the event was inspired by his book.
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Phil Hendrickson
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Nice work giving them the opportunity to see the book!

Tip from a fellow librarian (though I'm academic, not public):

If it looks like the librarians are not avid gamers, you could offer to consult with them about what games might work well in their collection. Hopefully they are using BGG, Scott's book and videos, and other review sources to select games. But chances are they don't have very much time to devote to game selection.

Just as (most) libraries are happy to receive suggestions of books to buy, they will also appreciate suggestions of games to buy. They know that if one or a few of their patrons ask for it, an item has a much higher probability of getting used than something bought "cold".

Unfortunately, a few librarians have the attitude, "we're the professionals thank you, so keep your advice to yourself." If you run into one of those, just be friendly and go back to enjoying the game night. whistle
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Agent J
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Hopefully you'll be all right, because they're professional LIBRARIANS while you're a professional gamer. Well, Gaming Consultant.
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jimmy ryan
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This is great! I hold a board game club at our library, but it is on saturday mornings. Perhaps I could take something from your story and attempt an evening event sometime.

Thanks for the write up!
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Rhett Robb
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I followed a couple geeks on twiter that kept talking about library game nights. They inspired me to try and start one at my local library.

The first night was quiet, I hope the next one (next week, and aided by notice on the library's web-site) turns out nearly as good as yours did
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Mike Fox
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Very cool story, thanks for sharing. I recently made a trip to a nearby library after having not been there in a while, and I noticed that there was a new, small area added for Chess players. I sat down and proceeded to get my butt handed to me by an old timer in a Chess t-shirt. Good times, good times.
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Daniel Bishop
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Very cool! I wonder if I could get one going at my library?

For any of you that have been to library game nights, what's the 'structure'? Does someone act as the host and lead folks through games? Or are visitors expected to fend for themselves?
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Christopher DeFrisco
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There are quite a number of us library-game-night-hosters out there... everyone needs to chime in here!

I've been hosting a monthly game night at our library for a bit over three years now. The single biggest piece of advice I can give is to assume you will be greeting, meeting, and teaching the entire time. It's what has proven, for me, to be the single biggest reason for our event's success.

Geeklist: Hosting A Public Gamenight

bishless wrote:
Very cool! I wonder if I could get one going at my library?

For any of you that have been to library game nights, what's the 'structure'? Does someone act as the host and lead folks through games? Or are visitors expected to fend for themselves?
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Agent J
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cdefrisco wrote:
There are quite a number of us library-game-night-hosters out there... everyone needs to chime in here!

I've been hosting a monthly game night at our library for a bit over three years now. The single biggest piece of advice I can give is to assume you will be greeting, meeting, and teaching the entire time. It's what has proven, for me, to be the single biggest reason for our event's success.



I shall endeavor to remember to never host a public game night at a library, then... I don't game so that other people can play games while I socialize and tutor. I socialize and tutor so that I can play games.
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Phil Hendrickson
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Jythier wrote:
cdefrisco wrote:
...I've been hosting a monthly game night at our library for a bit over three years now. The single biggest piece of advice I can give is to assume you will be greeting, meeting, and teaching the entire time. It's what has proven, for me, to be the single biggest reason for our event's success.



I shall endeavor to remember to never host a public game night at a library, then... I don't game so that other people can play games while I socialize and tutor. I socialize and tutor so that I can play games.


Two reasons to host such a game night, even if you don't get to play, would be:

1) GROW MORE GAMERS - both in the global sense (which helps the whole industry) and to develop more gamers in your area (which helps the local game market).

2) Meet more local players with whom you might develop private game nights where you play a lot and don't have to teach much.

If a person is happy with the amount of playing they currently do, then reason #2 might not be important to them. But anyone who likes to see new games get developed and who enjoys browsing, playing and/or buying them at a FLGS would support reason #1.

Am I off base here?
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Christopher DeFrisco
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Well said Phil !
Through the game nights I've met and become great friends with many gamers, which has resulted in many, many additional opportunities to sit around a game table. Opportunities I would have never had otherwise.

And, I get the satisfaction of people thinking I'm providing a community service when all I'm really doing is getting to 'go out and play' once a month!


DrumPhil wrote:
Jythier wrote:
cdefrisco wrote:
...I've been hosting a monthly game night at our library for a bit over three years now. The single biggest piece of advice I can give is to assume you will be greeting, meeting, and teaching the entire time. It's what has proven, for me, to be the single biggest reason for our event's success.



I shall endeavor to remember to never host a public game night at a library, then... I don't game so that other people can play games while I socialize and tutor. I socialize and tutor so that I can play games.


Two reasons to host such a game night, even if you don't get to play, would be:

1) GROW MORE GAMERS - both in the global sense (which helps the whole industry) and to develop more gamers in your area (which helps the local game market).

2) Meet more local players with whom you might develop private game nights where you play a lot and don't have to teach much.

If a person is happy with the amount of playing they currently do, then reason #2 might not be important to them. But anyone who likes to see new games get developed and who enjoys browsing, playing and/or buying them at a FLGS would support reason #1.

Am I off base here?
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Dave K
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That's great to hear! Were a library near me to try something like this I'd definitely give it a shot. I've heard of some in the Denver area having videogames, but those I can play at home just fine. Boardgames I have a moderate need to get out of the house to play.
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Daniel Bishop
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Thanks for the link!
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Adam Webb
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Tell the person running this program at your library about the monthly grant from Funagain Games. It is open to libraries and its worth $100.

http://www.funagain.com/control/rc?p=grants&fromrd=28832
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David
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bishless wrote:
Very cool! I wonder if I could get one going at my library?

For any of you that have been to library game nights, what's the 'structure'? Does someone act as the host and lead folks through games? Or are visitors expected to fend for themselves?

Just ask them... I'd say chances are good they'd be happy to get some more people into the library. When I approached our local toy and games library they said "We've been wanting to do something like this for ages but just don't have the time to do it our selfs."

We've never been a lot of people. 7-8 tops which is usually doable with one groups so I can explain everything and then play as well. But most of them are comfortable enough learning a game on their own. More likely one of them would just teach a game he/she already knows...

Best of luck to you!
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Phil Hendrickson
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bishless wrote:
Very cool! I wonder if I could get one going at my library?

For any of you that have been to library game nights, what's the 'structure'? Does someone act as the host and lead folks through games? Or are visitors expected to fend for themselves?


Scott Nicholson covers this in his book, and my experience is the same. If you just set games out or make them available, it doesn't grab people enough to get involved. Someone has to act as host to draw people in and get them settled. Each game needs someone who can teach it, unless there happens to be a group that all know a game and can play it without help. The host and the game teacher don't have to be the same person, but both roles are needed.

Consider the perspective of a visitor: they don't want to open a box and figure it out on their own. They can do that at home. At a public event they expect that someone will introduce them to the games (and create a setting that makes personal introductions easier).

If you get a librarian who is an avid gamer, that's awesome! But don't count on it. The best way to help the library get a game event going is to offer to help with teaching the games. Dedicating librarian time to the event and knowing the games well enough to teach them are their biggest concerns. By volunteering to assist, you make these challenges easier for them to manage.
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Daniel Bishop
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Sent to my library yesterday:
Quote:
I'm in the process of launching a club focused on tabletop games (board
and card: Ticket to Ride, Munchkin, HeroScape, etc.). We'd love to
introduce our community to the world beyond Monopoly and Uno. I'm
curious about making use of the Wheeler Taft Abbett, Sr. Branch as a
meeting location. Would this be something the library would allow?
Perhaps the club could donate some games to the library (to be used on
premises only) and provide some demo sessions to curious library
visitors as Saturday morning events this summer?

Please let me know what you think.
-Daniel



Received this morning:
Quote:
Daniel, I am very interested in this. Please give me a call at *******


Woohoo! Progress! I am stoked. Thanks for the advice, David and Phil. I'll definitely look into Scott's book.
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Billy the Hut
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bishless wrote:
Woohoo! Progress! I am stoked. Thanks for the advice, David and Phil. I'll definitely look into Scott's book.


Wow Daniel, that's excellent.

Scott Nicholson's book is titled "Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages" You can find it on Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Plays-Library-Creating-Experi...

As much as I would have liked to see Scott get one more sale, I'm on a tight budget which is why I borrowed it thru the library. The silver lining of that approach is if you borrow it from your library you may inspire some of your local librarians to read it.
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One of my meetups already does this, once a month. Furthermore, the organizers switch local libraries everytime to attract as diverse crowds as possible.
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Billy the Hut
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admanwebb wrote:
Tell the person running this program at your library about the monthly grant from Funagain Games. It is open to libraries and its worth $100.

http://www.funagain.com/control/rc?p=grants&fromrd=28832


Thanks so much!

I've sent her the link.
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Phil Hendrickson
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Way to go, Daniel! Keep us informed how it goes.

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