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This guest blog post was written by Heather Leaf Randwick City Library
On 10 November, we hosted a range of game-related activities for people of all ages at our Margaret Martin Library in Randwick. We’ve been hosting International Games Day, also known as International Games Week for the past 4 years as a way of:
1) transforming our public space into a platform for our community to access and experience current and emerging technologies
2) providing immersive activities and experiences which are age-specific, stimulating and challenging
3) to enable groups of people to share experiences though gaming together and connect with others in the local community
4) proudly showcasing our unique Tabletop Game collection, Toy & Game Library collection and existing game-themed programs such as the monthly role-playing game sessions. Additionally, the games day enabled us to experiment with new ideas for future programs.
The event has expanded over the years and has turned into our library’s biggest cross-team collaboration with all departments contributing. Not only has it become an annual event for the library to engage with community, but also an exciting team building project. This year’s program was a result of a single brainstorming meeting in the staff lunch room one afternoon. It has allowed staff from different areas to collaborate and come up with creative activities for the event, using their talents and passions outside the scope of their typical responsibilities.
International Games day is the biggest all-ages event we host, catering to all our target demographics. All activities were very well attended, with 917 visitors on the day. We also received a lot of positive feedback from both the visitors and the staff, which reflects how well received it is by our community. Some notable highlights include:
Babies’ Parkour – The Toy Library staff designed a simple and engaging obstacle course using hopscotch pads, tunnels and games from our Toy & Game Library. This was a hit with so many toddlers and babies who could crawl or bounce through the obstacle course, and has been requested to be held more often.
Minecraft Competition and LAN – We have been running Minecraft LAN and Competition for International Games Day for 3 years in succession and they have always been a favourite. It goes to show the timeless appeal of the unique world of Minecraft, which has continually evolved since its release in 2009. We have chosen a different theme each year for the competition, and the necessary resources are provided to every participant. Kids are given an opportunity to take up a challenge in something they are genuinely passionate about and the winning entries this year were truly reflective of their enthusiasm and expertise. The Minecraft LAN on the other hand gives everyone a chance to experience the virtual world together or to get a taste of what Minecraft is all about.
Virtual Reality Gaming – This year we wanted to provide an opportunity for anyone to experience technology that they would usually not have access to, as we strive to enhance the digital literacy of our community and minimise the digital divide. Even though the technology has been in existence for years, it still remains a niche technology in our society. For this activity, we hired an external company to set up a VR gaming station in the centre of the library and people were able to take turns experiencing an immersive virtual world. Kids and adults alike were very appreciative of this novel experience and it attracted a huge crowd.
Tabletop Games – We hold a very popular lending collection of unique tabletop games, showcasing selected titles and our latest acquisitions on the day. Most of our new games were borrowed on the day, and proved a great way of promoting this collection to anyone who was not aware the library had a games collection. To compliment this collection, we host a monthly tabletop game night which has been specifically aimed at attracting millennials and adults who are not yet seniors. Our library has traditionally hosted hundreds of events for children, teens and seniors but it has always been a challenge to get those in their 20s and 30s to visit the library. With a consistent turnout each month, the tabletop game night has been proven to be effective in appealing to this demographic and the feedback from our regular attendees has been very positive.
3D Printing demo – The games day was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate our 3D printers and encourage everyone to ask questions about how 3D printing works, from materials used to creating plans and the mechanisms behind it. Our 3D printer was set up at the front desk of the library which drew the attention of anyone entering the library. Similarly to VR gaming, its presence enabled curious visitors to observe and start a conversation about the technologies involved, providing another example of digital literacy in the library in a casual exchange.