Help Them Understand, Again

A year ago,I wrote a post about how to help your concerned patrons understand why a library would offer games and gaming. That bears repeating, so I hope you’ll go read it if you missed it the first time, or if you want a reminder.

You have another audienceof people who might benefit from your efforts to help them understand: your co-workers, the other people on the library staff in positions high and low, who might not get it yet. Recruiting a friend or professional associate has the potential to pay off when they can help market your gaming program, when they share the “Oh, I finally got it!” moment with another co-worker or (even better!) that family and the older couple in the airport shuttle on the way to Mom’s place for the holidays. You can’t personally be everywhere, so having others able to talk it up is a good thing.

OfficeParty Help Them Understand, Again

Where might you reach those people you don’t normally talk to? After all, you’ve already gotten your immediate co-workers on board (haven’t you?). If you work in an urban library system with multiple branches, is there a holiday party in your collective future? Go to it this year. Take the time to talk about your success stories to your Library Director directly. Share your experiences with that branch manager who doesn’t have games programming at his location. Listen to the circ attendant who plays online with her son stationed overseas, but questions how games fit for the library itself.

Bring games to play at the party. If you can set up the electronic video games there, do that. Library staffers will enjoy Rock Band just as much as your regular patrons. Maybe they’ve heard about the game but never had a chance to try it out and this is a great opportunity to do so. Haul over copies of your favorite board games and share them around, or use this occasion to break the shrinkwrapping off some of the new games I suggested before Thanksgiving. Learn to play in a relaxed situation, before you face the patrons who want to believe you already know everything ahead of time. Prime yourself with the answers about why gaming matters from the earlier article, and you’ll help them understand why games are both fun and meaningful while quaffing the legendary orange spice punch your Associate Director brings every year.

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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