Despite a (inaccurate) reputation for silence, public libraries are actually an ideal location for two of the oldest forms of social interaction. The most obvious example is a book club (read here for more information about books clubs at the LPL). The other is less obvious, though still incredibly relevant to the library: games. Games have existed long before we came to know them as pixelated images on a flat screen or even as colorful cardboard mats and plastic pieces. Gaming goes way back to Mesopotamia, and one of the earliest forms of the board game can be traced back to Egypt in 3100 BCE; “senet” was a strategy game involving sticks or bones. Tile games are reported to have existed in China for over 2,900 years and Dominoes began during the Song Dynasty! Games have evolved and changed shape over the years, crossing cultures and becoming mass commercialized. Whether it’s with a die, a deck of cards, an electronic controller, or a simple piece of paper and a wild imagination, games, in all their various forms, have remained an enduring marker of how we pass our time and enjoy the company of family and friends. Today, we also recognize other inherent values that games bring us, including mental sharpness and improved dexterity and problem solving skills.
Libraries and games go hand-in-hand. Yes, libraries can be serious places for research and contemplation. But, we are also here for “fun and games.” Literally! International Games Week, held November 4-10, 2018, is an initiative from the American Library Association to “reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.” We invite you to explore the wide-ranging games and game-related materials available at the LPL, for this week and beyond.
The Levittown Public Library is a great destination for gaming. In the Children’s Room, we offer educational games on our iPads and computers, in addition to a variety of puzzles (those count, too!). During the summer and school breaks, we also bring out a mix of board and card games for in-house use. Recently, we held our first Family Game Night, which was a great success and included oversized versions of Connect Four and Mancala.
The Young Adult Department, where you can find a (very thick) binder with video games appropriate for children and teens, provides an incredible mix of video, tabletop, role playing, and even VR games for teens in grades 6 through 12. Regular programs include monthly Switch It Up days (using the Nintendo Switch), Dungeons and Dragons, and Artemis (a cooperative game played on PC laptops). YA routinely offers video game programs and has an assortment of traditional and modern games that make appearances during other programs, like the popular card game Exploding Kittens. Upcoming gaming programs include: Mario Kart 8 (Friday, November 23rd, 2018) and Mario Tennis Aces (Wednesday, December 26th, 2018). Our YA librarians are also excited to introduce Super Smash Brothers Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch when it is released in December. Lastly, our teens are also fortunate to have the opportunity to experiment with the Library’s VR system. On November 2nd and December 15th, teens can play the exciting virtual reality game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Parents and/or teens should check our newsletter or contact the Young Adult Department for more information regarding programs, including registration and program dates and times.
As mentioned above, we have an extensive collection of video games, appropriate for children and teens, and have recently branched out to add adult video games to our collection, available for loan to Levittown Public Library cardholders. For adults who would prefer low-tech games, the Adult Game Club meets Wednesdays from 10:00-2:30 in Meeting Rooms 1 & 2. No registration is required, and those who attend can look forward to playing a variety of tabletop games, including cards, mahjong, and more.
There’s always been something special about the games we play. From a simple game of Go Fish or some old school Space Invaders, to any of the Monopoly variations (Disney, The Golden Girls, Game of Thrones, Pokemon, Riverdale…and on, and on), I bet that many of our favorite family memories involve one type of game or another. What are some of your favorite games to play with family and friends? Leave a comment to let us know! Here’s one of my favorite game-related moments, courtesy of another favorite, The Golden Girls. Enjoy!
Happy Reading and Gaming,