GameRT loves connecting our membership with game publishers, designers, and local game stores. If you belong to one of those groups and would like to support libraries, GameRT has several initiatives you can participate in to help bring gaming to libraries across the country (and the world!). This goes for creators of video games, board games, tabletop role-playing games, and other gaming experiences that would work well in libraries.
Any gaming industry folks interested in the initiatives below can contact GameRT to connect!
GameRT funds either a single grant for $500 or two grants of $250 each year. We are looking at increasing our own funding of this grant, but are also interested in getting matching dollars from publishers. The general idea would be to have one or more gaming industry figures commit to contributing money to the grant fund for a specific timeline (for example, $500 for the next five years). Grant applications are accepted from January-March and announce the winner at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in late June, with funds being dispersed in the summer.
ALA Annual Travel Grant
A new offering GameRT is exploring would be to establish travel grants for library employees to attend the American Library Association’s annual conference. This initiative would allow game publishers to support the professional development of library workers. Some other ALA round tables do this currently and the basic outline is that publishers contribute the funds and the round table selects a recipient each year. For example, ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) offers $1000 to a chosen member to attend ALA’s annual conference. This grant is still in development stages, but GameRT would be happy to hear from publishers with an interest in supporting this grant.
Each year GameRT organizes, promotes, and runs International Games Month (November). A call for sponsors goes out in March with several sponsorship levels available (see current sponsors here). At each level, the publisher commits to giving away copies of their games and/or providing coupon codes to their web store for participating libraries. For physical giveaways, GameRT collects information during registration and then draws a number of recipients based on the publisher’s chosen sponsor level. A spreadsheet with all the contact information of the chosen libraries is sent to publishers by the end of September and shipping is expected to be completed by the end of October (games need to arrive in time for November). For coupon codes, the spreadsheet is sent by the end of October for code dispersal in November.
ALA ANNUAL EVENTS
ALA Annual is the annual conference of the American Library Association. For GameRT this is like a mini game con, complete with gaming exhibitors, gaming info sessions, and a game night!
ALA Play Sponsorship
GameRT hosts ALA Play, a Friday game night, at ALA’s annual conference each year (in 2023 there were 245 ALA Play attendees), and are exploring opportunities to expand the event with sponsorship. Publishers could potentially fund things like catering, audio/visual equipment, and more to level up this event.
Publisher Booths at ALA Annual
GameRT has worked to create the GAMING GROVE, a low cost entry point to participate and have a presence at ALA’s conference. With a cost of $500 (2023 cost, subject to change), you will have a presence on the exhibit floor, time to run game demos in the gaming lounge, and preferred placement at ALAPlay (GameRT’s Friday night gaming event). When applications for the Gaming Grove open, the information is posted here.
Game Publishers are also welcome to exhibit on the main floor outside of (but near) the GAMING GROVE. A booth on the main exhibit floor will give you more space. When you apply, simply indicate that you would like your booth to be located in the GRAPHIC NOVELS AND GAMING PAVILION and you will be near other games publishers (and graphic novel publishers), as well as the GAMING GROVE and Graphic Novels & Gaming Stage.
Graphic Novels & Gaming Stage
Exhibitors are welcome to submit panel discussion proposals to the conference. GameRT encourages game publishers to participate in this to better connect with library workers. Similar to how many conference attendees go to author book talks, GameRT would love to see game publisher talks as a way for library workers to explore games as a medium and hobby. Topics for panels can include how specific games are great for community building or educations; informational sessions on how publishers support libraries; professional development panels on how libraries can run events like game jams or game nights; etc.
Game publishers and designers are encouraged to submit proposals for the following event types:
Learn & Play — one hour sessions that consist of a presentation on using a specific game for library programming followed by a play session where attendees can actually play the game in a virtual setting
LAG: Librarians Attempt Games — watch and join the chat as librarians play a variety of games while discussing how they’d use them for programming (viewers typically do not play along, but are welcome to participate in chat)
Low Stress High Mayhem — we dig into some indie and/or micro TTRPGs that are great for various library settings, sometimes inviting publishers and designers to GM a session for librarians to play, including a discussion on using the game in libraries (viewers typically do not play along, but sometimes there is a chance for audience participation, and folks are always welcome to participate and ask questions in chat)
Other ideas/themes we would be interested in seeing from publishers/designers:
- Game Design 101 – the basics for librarians who want to run game jams at their libraries
- Ideas for bringing in non-traditional gamers to explore game collections or programming at the library
Any gaming industry folks interested in the initiatives above can contact GameRT to connect!