International Games Month 2023 Wrap Up

by George Bergstrom

What a busy International Games Month was in 2023! The IGM committee hopes that everyone had great experiences making gaming connections with their communities. This year we had 719 library systems worldwide who were able to participate. Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom continue to be the top three countries outside of the US with participating libraries. I am most proud that we had libraries in 16 non-US countries, including Turkey and Serbia- which to my knowledge are their first time participating in IGM. We are seeing the event moving back to pre-pandemic levels of participation. 

The committee would like to shout out our great sponsors: Looney Labs, Red Raven Games, Roll for Combat, and Cards Against Humanities. Take a look at this year’s sponsorship page for links to all of their websites, and a full description for what they donated to IGM. They gave away a combined 549 games, 40 RPG books, and 200 discount codes to use at their online stores. Cards Against Humanity also reached out to all of the US libraries that registered offering a second game which is coming out soon. We also want to call out the sponsors in Italy: Asmodee, Babalibri, CreativeMente, dV Giochi, Erickson, and Ludic. We surveyed the participating libraries and this year we got responses from 18% of our total registered libraries. Based on their responses over 11,000 people engaged with games at 637 events. If you are a participating library and haven’t sent in any feedback we would still love to hear from you. Perhaps the most interesting results are the great stories that libraries are sharing with us:

“We held a Dungeons & Dragons session, and participants really enjoyed themselves and begged for more! They also got to practice teamwork and creative thinking as they coordinated their quests against the foe.”

Southborough Library, MA- United States

“Our user base is mostly made of families with very young children, so our event was heavily focused on teaching families how to play together. We worked together with a local association that lent us some of their board games and arranged five tables to play. We really wanted to emphasize the benefit of playing as a family, with both grown-ups and little ones equally involved. The experience was very accessible to people with no prior knowledge, each board game was presented and explained by one of our masters involved. Parents (even a couple of grandparents!) that were skeptical at first (and really needed to be pushed to play), became very enthusiastic and sincerely enjoyed the time spent playing. We truly think we accomplished our aim!”

Biblioteca Comunale, V. Ghetti- Italy

“What I love seeing most is people making new friends. They even share contact info, so you know they are not just making a friend, they are making a real friend.”

California State University, East Bay, CA- United States

We had so many wonderful stories and examples of games bringing a library’s community together that we can’t possibly share them all. One of them was very detailed and in Italian so I am putting a lot of trust into Google’s translating capabilities. The gist of the story is that the Grignasco Library worked with their local government to get November 18, 2023, officially recognized as the day their library would participate in IGM. On that day they had lots of events/activities with the goal being:

 “the project was born with the dual intent of showing the educational potential of games and video games and the aggregative capabilities of the library towards all user groups and from the consideration that “gaming”, integrated among the services of a library, makes people feel welcome users and promotes social relationships, as gaming is a way to have fun, exercise the mind, improve skills and meet new people in a safe and pleasant environment…”

Biblioteca Comune di Grignasco, Grignasco- Italy

This official declaration as well as the library’s planning led to them being among the winners of the AIB competition during IGM 2023. We congratulate them on a successful partnership with local government and their win. 

The committee would like to thank all the participants this year and we look forward seeing IGM continue to grow in 2024.

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