International Games Week 2019 Wrap-Up

Another terrific International Games Week is in the books!

This year, we hit an all-time high for International Games Week registrations, with over 1900 libraries from over thirty countries participating.  That’s over 400 more libraries than in 2018. Institutions big and small, representing all kinds of libraries, came together to celebrate games and welcome gamer-patrons.

Just over 1100 libraries were in the United States, or about 58% of the total.  Italy (264) and Australia (260) were neck-and-neck for second place, then came the United Kingdom with 98.

Our collaborators with Nordic Game Week reported 24 registered libraries in Denmark, and 79 in Finland–among 200 total organizations, many hosting several events during the week.

We had several libraries from countries that had not been represented before, such as Zimbabwe, Paraguay, Venezuela, Chile, and Iran.

While the statistics are incomplete, it’s clear that the lion’s share of our participants were public libraries, followed by school and academic libraries.  We were also glad to have special, tribal, prison, and military libraries–representing the diversity of libraries and the appeal of gaming in libraries.

We’d also like to thank our donors, who helped support the effort worldwide.  In the United States, we had eleven sponsors donate over 1500 games in total! They were all very popular, and we had far more requests for each title than we had copies available.

The donor list:

Brotherwise, CMON Games, Exploding Kittens, Iello Games, Looney Labs, Niantic, Osprey Games, Red Raven, ThinkFun, Took 2 Long, and Pie for Breakfast Studios.

A few stories from participating libraries:

“One of our regular patrons brought her extended family (that was visiting from out-of-town) for entertainment on a Friday night and basically, show off “her” library. Another new patron happened to wander in, joined in for an hour, and was amazed that the library does something so exciting. “

“We hold a monthly game night at a local brewery, and IGW falls on that event usually. For IGW, we featured Fairytale Fluxx (thank you!) and gave away a couple of games and a gift card to the brewery. We had our highest attendance yet with 55 people coming! “

“I adapted the game Clue to be played as a live action experience where the suspects were all literary themed characters and participants played the role of private investigator. It is unclear who had more fun – the suspects or the participants! The library was full with participants running around interrogating all the suspects and they were hot for intrigue! For the first game it turned out the Lady Bug Girl was the killer! And she used The Spice from the Dune series to kill the author! Very hilarious and surprising! This will definitely be repeated in the near future!”

“I have a large segment of my college population that are ESL students. While playing Scattegories; this student remained observing but distant in not wanting to participate. A group of us encouraged him; offering no judgement on his ability to participate; eventually he agreed to play 1 round. 3 rounds later he left with some of the participating students to engage in trivia night on campus, having made some new acquaintances and enjoyed using the game as an “exercise in English”. Once he learned I even knew a few phrases in his native language he was overjoyed to know one of the librarians on campus would be able to help in research, the game night made me approachable in a new way to a new patron and it was awesome!”

“We had a student who attended just because their friend was coming, and they said after playing a few games that they never had really liked games before (Monopoly, Risk, etc) but they really enjoyed learning the games we taught them – Tsuro, Codenames, Sushi Go Party, and a few others.”

“One father/son group stayed for the entire four hour program and would have stayed longer if they could. Several people asked if the library would consider offering board games as a circulating collection. One parent said they don’t have room for games at home, so it’s wonderful to be able to play at the library.”

Or, as one librarian summarized:

“Man, this was dope!”

We are looking forward to International Games Week 2020, to be held from November 8-14!  We hope to have even more libraries, librarians, sponsors–and patrons!–participating than ever.

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