The surveys are in, and what comes through loud and clear is that National Gaming Day @ your library continues to strengthen communities and bring diverse groups of people together. As the heart of the community, the library remains the most viable institution to bridge generational gaps, enable new social interactions, and reinforce positive connections in a truly inclusive environment.
This year’s numbers and anecdotes again tell a story too often missing from today’s news: families taking time to play together; teens and seniors teaching each other to play their favorite games; kids playing together who wouldn’t even talk to each other at school; students from foreign countries playing universal games that overcome language barriers; kids learning how to play together, take turns, and demonstrate good sportsmanship; participants seeing their libraries and librarians in a new light; and so much more.
- Number of libraries registered to participate: 1,412
- Number of libraries that submitted # of players for NGD activities: 739
- Total number of players for NGD11 activities: 27,767
- Number of libraries that participated in the 4th National Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament: 39 (the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library won again)
- Number of libraries that participated in the 30th Anniversary Frogger High Score Contest: 7
- There was at least one library registered to participate in all 50 U.S. states (plus the Virgin Islands).
- Number of non-US libraries that participated (that we know of): 21 libraries in 14 countries
- The largest demographic group of attendees was families (21.9%), followed by a mix of ages (19.3%) and a mix of children and teens (18.9%)
But the numbers aren’t the real story. Once again the true spirit of the day is what happens at each library, as the following anecdotes provided by librarians prove.
- “My favorite part of NGD is when kids who don’t hang out together at school are here and behave like they have been the best of friends forever. And the way gaming brings different generations together through teamwork at beating the big boss in the video game or learning a new board game together. They are having fun without all the prejudices.” – Wister (OK) Public Library
- “We had different generations of participants play the games together, with the college students showing a late 50’s woman how to play Super Mario Brothers. The woman was all excited when she actually was able to get to the 2nd level and was amazed at the skill of the students who easily surpassed her score.” – Courtright Memorial Library (Westerville, OH)
- “I loved the fact that some kids took the leadership role in our Gaming day…I overheard one child ask….’Mom….do you know how to play Memory?’, ‘I can teach you.’ ” – Appleton (MN) Public Library
- “As always, the interaction between players is astounding. Students of different ages and playing ability played next to each other, and the more experienced players were more than willing to share what they know.” – St. Charles (IL) Public Library
- “It was really neat to see adults trying their hand at the Wii games, where kids & teens ‘know it all’, and then to see those same kids & teens learn some of the more ‘traditional’ games that the adults have grown up with and already know. Hmmm, learning from another generation…@ the library…who’d a thunk it?!?” – Citizens Library (Washington, PA)
- “A child who is new to the neighborhood made 2 friends at ‘Get Your Game On.'” – Montvale (VA) Library
- “NGD helped promote intergenerational gaming. We had a group of different ages playing Scrabble. Each one shared a moment playing Words With Friends or other word games that have helped their vocabulary and that is why they wanted to play Scrabble at the event. We had two participants that were on the local high school chess team that offered pointers to others that wanted to learn and play (including myself). Watching the personalities of the children shine when writing answers for Loaded Questions and Awkward Family Photos was great to see. We all had laughs and enjoyed the time playing. Everyone had a great time dancing to all sorts of music in Dance Central 2 as well!” – Rossford (OH) Public Library
- “I loved seeing the kids all playing Zombies! and really going after each other. They played for over an hour and not one teen pulled their phone to text or anything. That is a unique thing that happened.” – Belfry (KY) Public Library
- “Many good things happened during National Gaming Day including watching a pair of shy sisters come out of their shells and have a ball playing with others and watching an autistic boy who often has behavior problems playing with the other kids and enjoying the experience without any issues at all.” – Mead Public Library (Sheboygan, WI)
- “The teens LOVED it when I could look at the Smash screen and tell them ‘Your opponents are in (insert state name here).’ It opened up a whole new world for them. Also, there was one boy who attended with an older sibling and had special needs. He was neither chronologically nor developmentally a teen, but the teens adopted him as one of their own, allowing him to have his turn and play alongside them. I was so proud of my teens!!” – Commerce Township (MI) Community Library
- “As a school with a school population that includes out of town dormers and residents of Chicago that usually do not interact, this event provided a forum for people who would otherwise not engage in activities together to find a common ground.” – Saul Silber Memorial Library (Chicago, IL)
- “Sometimes when people mention how ‘board games are dead,’ I always tell them about the popularity of board games at the library! – Rensselaer (IN) Public Library
- “[FamilyAndPartyGames.com] sending us board games helped those really shy kids be able to play something. Normally those shy ones would just stand around and watch the video gamers, but this year they had fun playing. The teachers that were there got them to sit down and join them for some great laughs.” – South Grand Prairie (TX) Ninth Grade Center
- “[Gaming] is BY FAR the most popular weekly program for teens in grades 6-12 and if they had their way, they would participate on a daily basis. It has been a crucial component in linking many of these teens with reading material as well – many SciFi and Fantasy publishers have series that build upon these games – it’s a great opportunity to connect with gamers and make it a social experience!” – Mahopac (NY) Public Library
We also want to thank FamilyAndPartyGames.com for their generous donation this year, which helped make this year’s National Gaming Day such a great event.
Take note: we’re moving this annual event up a week from the second Saturday of each November to the first Saturday of the month, so the newly named 2012 International Games Day will take place on Saturday, November 3rd. Mark your calendars now so you’re ready for next year!