Game Day!

This year and into this summer, my department started to do monthly board game nights for tweens and their families. My library and manager are fantastic and I knew there was a reason for it, but I didn't understand the why (other then it fit our summer reading theme).  

My biggest question was: Why would a family come to the library to play board games when they could do it at home? 

As I navigate my Master's program, I often feel like a young padawan learning the ways of the library.  I have the best manager & she is super sneaky. 

She had me go in on one of the board game nights & play games with the participants. 

This helped me to see first hand the need for programing like this one. 

I was surprised by what I saw.  Sure there were people that stumbled upon the game day and came in, but there were others that were serious game addicts that came too. 
It attracted people of all ages and levels, and we had no trouble attracting people to come into the library to play. 

After I got done interacting with these various families, it made me realize that tweens and families in our community need board games and play activities.
By doing a program such as this one, it offers them a chance to come together to play. 
Many families might not get this opportunity at home or at school. 

Briefly here are a few studies that highlight the importance of board game play : 

1. In a recent study,  researchers found that playing board games twice a week increased the brain speed scores of elementary students by a staggering 27 - 32%! 

4. It can help build social and emotional skills. - This is typically recommended for children under 5, but board games can continue to develop these skills way beyond this age! Check out this other article from the Wall Street Journal .

These are all relative points, but I think perhaps the biggest reason to offer one is to encourage these skills. It is also a opportunity to offer an intergenerational program.

Plus, it is a low cost program where you can use games that your library already has. Budget win! 

To do this, my library offers one game night once a month. Ours falls on a Monday night. 

At these board game nights, we wheel out a bunch of games and we play with tweens and families. This is a wonderful way to encourage the skills listed above as well as an opportunity to get to know the tweens at your library. 

Here are some of the games that I have played at these Game Night programs: 

On my first game night, I was really nervous. I only played a few board games growing up, and I wasn't sure how to play the ones that my library had offered.   

This worry quickly faded when I saw  the community that was formed within the program. Older adults taught younger patrons how to play. I had the most fun working with a group of tweens to try and figure out how to play Exploding Kittens

I quickly realized that the purpose of this program was to have fun, explore, and make mistakes.  
It was a lesson that I needed to learn. 

Even though I was unsure of the program at first, I am thankful I had the opportunity to do it. It has taught me the importance of play. I often get caught up in what I have to next, I myself forget to slow down and play too. 

I think it is something  we as librarians should strive to offer and make it a priority to offer. In both in our passive and active programs.

So dust off those games, and start a game with patrons in your department. 
You might be surprised. You might become a game addict too! 

I know I did! 
(Now I just have to work on my competitiveness, but I guess that is another day!). 


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