by George Bergstrom
With International Games Week 2021 ending we hope everyone had a chance to experience bringing the joy of gaming back to their communities. This year 504 library systems worldwide were able to participate with Italy, the United Kingdom, and Australia having the strongest showings outside of the United States. The committee would like to thank Looney Labs for sponsoring this year, our first sponsorship since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic almost two years ago. They were able to give games to almost 200 libraries.
The round table has surveyed the participants and received responses from about 20% of all participating libraries. Of the libraries who have responded 28% were experiencing IGW for the first time and 13% weren’t sure if their library had participated in the past. The reported participation was almost 4900 people, so worldwide the week’s events reached around 25,000 people. One of the most impactful comments we received was this:
“Prior the pandemic, the library’s board game collection was available to patrons for in-library use during our operating hours. During COVID all of these games had to be moved back behind the circulation desk to encourage social distancing. 99% of our library users forgot the games were available. IGW allowed us to re-introduce the board games collection to our patrons. During IGW the games were placed back out with the circulating collection and have once again become very popular with our families. They have also proven popular with middle school children that usually play on the computers while waiting for their parents to pick them up after school.”
Next year will be a big year for our celebration. For those who have been at this for a while you may remember that in 2007 the first National Game Day was celebrated. In 2012 that day grew to be celebrated at libraries around the world with the first International Game Day, and in 2017 it grew into International Games Week. This makes next year the 15th/10th/5th anniversary, and GameRT thought it would be the perfect opportunity to expand again and make it official. So next year we will be celebrating the first International Games Month!
George Bergstrom is the ALA Game and Gaming Roundtable’s Treasurer, works at the Indiana State Library as a Regional Coordinator for the Professional Development office, and enjoys long board games on the beach.
Also, if you would like to help volunteer for IGM or anything GameRT related, fill out this form!