November 13 is the American Library Association’s National Gaming Day, when over 1500 libraries across the country come together for the largest simultaneous national videogame tournament ever held.
Libraries sure have changed since I was a kid. Back in my day, they were stern, sterile places where you could get a book, read a book, maybe check a book out, and the most exciting thing that ever happened was the matronly smackdown that had to be meted out every now and then when somebody got out of hand and raised his voice above a hoarse whisper.
But things are different now. “In the 21st century, libraries are about much more than books!” says the ALA’s I Love Libraries website. “In fact, libraries work very hard to provide people of all ages with a rich and current menu of CDs and DVDs, as well as electronic and online resources. Video game resources and programs at the library complement these existing services. Featuring this new gaming media helps the library expand its reach while meeting community expectations.”
In that spirit, the American Library Association is bringing us National Gaming Day on November 13, an opportunity to come together with friends and strangers alike for a day of gaming in a friendly, interactive and even educational environment. The games will be vetted by librarians as “family friendly” – sorry, no Gears or Red Dead here – with a focus on social components that will encourage people to game together.
Even better, libraries will compete against one another online to ring up the highest score in games like the hit Wii release Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Many libraries will also host tabletop gaming events on the big day and tabletop gamers and groups are invited to offer to host a session at their local library if it doesn’t already have one lined up. For more information or to track down nearby libraries taking part in the big day, check out the National Gaming Day page at ilovelibraries.org.