Holiday Shopping

Black Friday.The term makes some people race to the mall in pre-dawn hours, and makes others (like me) cower behind barricades and refuse to go anywhere near a brick and mortar retail establishment. The outcome of the day makes economists and pundits applaud or decry the health of the economy but I’m not a recreational shopper so I must offer a caveat to this post. What seems like a good idea in theory may depend on factors far outside the realm of gaming in a library… factors like “Do you enjoy this kind of thing?”

shopping Holiday Shopping

If you’re hitting the mall this weekend,keep your eyes open for bargains and discounts on games. Some of you are probably taking a vacation day and won’t be wearing your professional hat, but I’m going to suggest you metaphorically carry it along. Don it now and again. Scope out stores where games are sold. The big box shops‚ Toys”R”Us, Best Buy, Costco, Target‚ may only offer the most whitebread, ordinary family games but the prices could stretch your library budget, and they have the sheer purchasing volume to offer the deepest discounts.

Smaller stores and the independent hobby shopsmay also have holiday sales, and I strongly encourage you to stop in and see what they’re offering. They have knowledgable staff able to make recommendations, something the big box stores cannot offer. Additionally, they may have flexibility you cannot get elsewhere. See about getting a special deal if you chat with the manager. Explain how you’re expanding the hobby through library events, and talk about your interest in doing more. If you hit it off, you might get the manager to come as a guest speaker talking about the hobby and giving a demonstration of a variety of games. This goes for both board games and electronic ones: I had a Game Stop manager tell me he’d do demos of the Wii and Wii games to a library branch sufficiently close to his store, back when the machine first came out.

zombie sign Holiday Shopping

I’d sooner face a zombie apocalypsethan go shopping on Black Friday, personally. But if you’re one of the intrepid souls braving the delights and dangers of this day, sieze the opportunity to expand your library gaming programs with shiny new games and maybe line up some special events down the line.

You’re out in the crowds anyway, right? Good luck with that, and game on!

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Liz Danforth About Liz Danforth

Liz Danforth, MLS, is a freelance game illustrator, scenario designer, and game developer who was inducted into the Academy of Gaming Arts and Design's Hall of Fame in in 1996. She has 18 years experience as a part-time paralibrarian in Phoenix and Tucson and is one of about a dozen "gaming experts" working with the American Library Association on a million-dollar grant-funded project to study the use of gaming to improve literacy skills and to develop a model "toolbox" for gaming in libraries. Through Danforth Design & Development (D3), she also works as an artist, a writer, and a library consultant. Follow her on Twitter @LizDanforth.

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