Games on the Go

A librarian design team from the Chicago Public Library explored gaming in the library as a way to engage people who are not typical library patrons. The team started with the premise that they would create a community experience for gamers, but found that while gamers wanted to participate, they wanted to enter and exit the situation in a low commitment way. As the group explored this idea, they made a giant jenga game and took it to street fairs. It has been an incredible hit, because it allows users to interact on their own terms and also highlights the different and diverse services that a library can offer beyond traditional ideas. The team also developed a Games on the Go collection, which included board games ranging in experience levels from beginner to advanced/strategic. The main team helps librarians from library branches use it to set up programming at street fairs in their areas. An interesting side benefit: our office staff has become excited about games and now uses games as team building activities!

story by Diane Marshbank