Stop Being So Modest

by Phil Minchin

National Gaming Day? Schmeh. We’re underselling ourselves.

Check out that map of participants. There are a lot of international gamers joining American libraries on November 12.

I’m proud to be one. I work in library IT at the Port Phillip Library Service in Melbourne, Australia, but recently received a study grant to visit the USA to look at all aspects of games, libraries and how the two interact. (Yes, it was a huge topic – and an amazing trip.)

I went to Gen Con, WorldCon, and PAX Prime, talking to gamers and game makers; I visited a dozen libraries and spoke to folks from half a dozen more. And what I saw inspired me so much that I came back vowing that this year it would be International Gaming Day. So now I’m organising Australia’s inaugural Gaming Day @ Your Library event at the State Library of Victoria, on Saturday November 12 (of course), from 10:30 to 4:00.

I realise of course that this isn’t the first international event to tie in with NGD@yl. But I do think it’s typical library self-effacement (and a bad thing) that it’s still being billed at only a national level despite that.

The big lesson – or rather affirmation – of my trip was how natural a fit games and libraries are for each other. Libraries are about community – and games are an art form (yes, they are art, the NEA agrees) that generates strong, active communities. Indeed most games actually require people to gather together in order to experience them. And the National Gaming Day is living proof: in four years, look how it’s grown – even beyond the borders of its founding country. Games without frontiers indeed – and no disrespect to Peter Gabriel, but in this form that’s a really good thing.

So it’s time to acknowledge – proudly – that NGD@yl is tapping into not just a national but a global love of this uniquely shared form of culture. It turns out that the NGD organisers are already planning to do this next year – but why wait? If you’d like to welcome international participants to the day, and celebrate the power of games to build and express community worldwide, I suggest modifying your posters along the lines shown. If you do, please send me photos – I’ll show them to libraries over here as further proof of how games can build international bridges, and to motivate more participants for next year.

Thanks in advance, and have fun on November 12!

[Editor’s note: Phil was kind enough to provide the following InterNational version of each size of the poster so that our international participants could use them as well. Thanks, Phil! And yes, the event will become International Gaming Day @ your library next year.]

Philip Minchin is a library IT team leader at the Port Phillip Library Service. He recently won a travel grant from the Spydus Users Network (sponsored by Civica Library & Learning) to visit the US to study games in libraries, had an absolute ball, learned a ton, and is busy sharing the love. If you’re interested in learning more about his trip, or his findings, you can contact him at .

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