Games at ALA Annual 2016

Not only does the American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Roundtable (GameRT) manage International Games Day, but they are also active in transforming libraries. GameRT will be bringing its magic to Orlando, but not in the form of wizards. All of this magic is done by librarians from various libraries around the United States.

GameRT will be once again starting off the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibit with a bang by hosting  ALAPlay. This year’s event will feature open gaming, publisher demos from Paizo, Mayfair, HABA, Asmodee, Konami, and more. The Unpub area will return again this year as well, with 15 tables of game designers, most local to the Orlando area, showing off their designs. Come try out some handheld games in the digital petting zoo. Not only will this zoo house smaller creatures, such as a PSVita and Nintendo 3DS, but it will also include an Oculus Rift. After exploring the zoo, experience an escape room that blends the best of both the digital and real worlds!

The games don’t end after ALAPlay. GameRT hosts a Gaming Lounge on the exhibit floor in booth 527 with open gaming, scheduled demo games from game publishers attending annual, and a sharing session on Sunday afternoon from librarians exploring and using games in their library spaces. Come see A Winning Game Plan: Using Genre Terms to Enhance Discovery of Tabletop Games; Hybrid Educational Escape Room Experiences; Battling Gamer Grime: Preservation for a Circulating Tabletop Game Collection; Game Making, Playing and Streaming at Your Library on a Budget, Reading and Playing; and NYPLarcade presents Duskers.

The magic doesn’t stop there! Come to the GameRT presentation Saturday afternoon and learn about how Design Thinking is helping the library better understand the needs of gamers. This presentation, led by Mariella Colon and Kristen Edson from the Chicago Public Library, discusses programming that is customized to be popular with different users, specifically millennials. Thomas Knowlton, outreach librarian at the New York Public Library, will present on the NYPLarcade. Created in 2012, the NYPLarcade started as a forum for adult patrons to play and discuss independent, experimental, and thought-provoking games. It has since expanded to include game discussions for tweens and teens and also Twine coding workshops.

On Sunday, GameRT is co-sponsoring Don’t Just Roll the Dice: Simple Solutions for Circulating Game Collections Effectively with the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS). This program will show you some tips and tricks for preserving and processing a tabletop game collection for efficient circulation. Come see the results of a year-long research project that evaluated several preservation and processing techniques for extending the life of a game collection.

Still don’t have your fill of games? There is a Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage in the exhibit hall! On Saturday morning, at 10:30am, Pierce Watters will moderate a panel of experts as they discuss how gaming programs fit in your library. On hand will be game publishers, distributors, and librarians to discuss Playing Tabletop Games at Your Library.

So come learn about the ways that games can enhance your library collections and programs at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando.

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