Alternatives to Circulating Board Games at Your Library

By Ashleigh Hvinden

When considering adding new mediums to a circulating collection at a public or academic library institution, we librarians take time to reflect on the process. We must determine what the staff impact could be in various divisions, identify the financial cost, identify a clear spot where the new collection can be housed, what additional items are needed to secure the items for prevention loss and so many other considerations. So, what does an institution do when they want to add a Board Game collection to the floor but not go through the traditional processes of adding a new medium to circulate? My library’s answer: Create a Board Game Trade Post.

 My library has two board game programs: one for Adults called “Library Got Game” and a board program for Teens called “Game On, Teens.” We have purchased and curated an in-house board game collection that does not circulate to the public other than during program times. The staff at my library were met with a conundrum:  How do we promote our board game programs on the floor in a unique way without impacting circulation or adding workload to various staff member? The answer we came up with: A Board Game Trade Post.

For the last two years, we had used this method for puzzles. Our Puzzle trade post is offered at only one of our branches and is an honor-based system. Patrons come in to check out the puzzles and take one home. Sometimes it has all the pieces, sometimes it doesn’t. The patrons love this addition and we started our very own Board Game Trade post just two weeks ago.

So, if you are looking for a way of adding board games to your library floor, may I suggest adopting our philosophy? We weeded through our in-house collection for a variety of games to start our new endeavor and I am always looking through our donations for any board games to add. I am hoping to contact local publishers here in Carlsbad to donate to the collection as well. How about all of you? Do you have a unique way of promoting the awesomeness of board games? Discuss in the comments below. Happy Playing!

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Ashleigh Hvinden is a Reference and Teen Services Librarian with the Carlsbad City Library in California. Ashleigh loves IP board games and started developing a collection in 2016. In college, Ashleigh was the one who had all the board games and would make her friends play Disney Scene-It so much so that they would refuse to play. Her favorites include Chess, Monopoly, Splendor, Lords of Waterdeep, Thanos Rising, Ticket to Ride, and Farkle. Ashleigh is always looking for a brand-new game to play and listens to way to many Board Game Podcasts.

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