How can game stores help their local library participate in
International Games Week?
First, check if your local library is running the event, either by asking them or by looking on the map.
If they are, great! However, they could probably still use some of the help suggested below.
If they don’t appear to be participating, contact them and ask if they know about the day. If they don’t, tell them it’s super-easy – and free! – to participate. Then give them the public link for the event and the address for the library-focused blog (https://games.ala.org/), and tell them you would love to participate in this global celebration of libraries if they can organise an event.
They may not be able to – libraries are always strapped for time and resources because we always want to give our users more opportunities.
However, if you can supply some of the necessary time and resources, those calculations might shift. (Note: might. Demand for library services is growing as fast as interest in games, as is the range of services we supply, but libraries’ funding is, if anything, shrinking!)
If you’re able to provide the means to play a decent selection of games to the library, either for the day or even as the seeds of a permanent game collection (by the way, did you know that library book-borrowers also buy more books on average than non-borrowers, both for themselves and as gifts?), along with a few skilled game demoers, the library only needs to supply the space and whatever staff are necessary to enable access. And once they register, they may even be able to score donations of additional free games from our sponsors!
Your demoers, whether staff or volunteers, will need to be clear that they are working with the library staff (who retain ultimate responsibility for the space), but if you make a time in advance to meet with staff and discuss plans, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Because the library is a place where all sorts of people go, your demoers will need to be comfortable – or preferably enthusiastic! – about demoing games to people outside the normal “gamer” profile. (The more different types of people playing, the more people will find the event approachable, too – so keep diversity and your community’s demographics in mind as best you can when selecting your demoers.) They’ll also sometimes have to be patient with people who don’t have any knowledge of normal games conventions and vocabulary. (But of course, as demoers, they’ll have all these sorts of skills anyway!)
Hopefully, this will enable you to support your local library to share games with its community on IGW. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know – and thanks for your interest in helping library users experience what games have to offer!