Growing a Gaming Program + How To Do It

Lots of good how-to information in this presentation, and it helps that all of the presenters are from suburban Chicago libraries. Maybe we'd see the same results and have the same challenges?

First up is Alex Tyle, Adult Services Director at Homer Township Public Library:

Gaming @ Homer Township PL

  • Library-wide focus on programming for teens: young adults club, book discussion, teen techies, teen interns, gaming events, teen leadership academy
  • Hit as many teen interests as possible
  • Positive comments from community as a whole; building good relationships with high schools
Considerations: (Note: open sessions get noncompetitive players while tourneys attract competition)
- schedule as an open session and tournaments with 3 rounds
- use 3 staff members to handle the crowd
- pair everyone off with someone from same level, do all 3 songs paired up together: 1st round is the library song choice, 2nd round song selected by one person in pair, then 3rd round chosen by other person in pair
Wii Sports:
- get extra batteries for remotes
- provide enough room for movement
Additional Activities: make sure there is other stuff to do while waiting their turn - board games, leftover crafts
Cost outlays:
- PS2 $130
- Dance pads & game $200 (redoctane.com)
- GH2 and guitars $139-180
- Wii $250
- Extra Wii remotes $40
- additional games often come with Wii remotes $50-$60
Ways around the initial cost include: borrow, wishlist, share with other libraries
Publicity: young adult club, teen techies, schools, posters, press releases, blog

Gaming @ Orland Park Public Library, Kelly Laszczak (Asst Head of YS at Orland Park PL)

- run over 3 months (saturdays once a month from 1-4)
- 2 qualifying rounds where they keep track of participant's scores
- participants with highest 36 scores from the first two rounds invited back for the finals in the 3rd month
- brackets created in publisher, printed poster size

DDR Tournament
- grades 6-12 regardless of skill level
- must be present at finals to win
- most kids used to playing 'heavy' load; usually play on lite or standard, then move up difficulty levels as things move on
- 22-32 kids in the finals; generally have 70 people in the room because friends and family come in final rounds
- make sure there are other things to do, like board games, snacks (a must!)
- prizes very important = Best Busy gift cards, coupons for local vendors
- parting gift something small (like ring pops!)

Chess Tournaments
- single elimination, all ages
- 2 qualifying rounds and 1 final based on performances in 1st round
- opponents selected at random during the first round

Eric Currie from Elmwood Park Public Library added that his library does all-day tournaments (9:30-4:30) on a Saturday !

Amy Alessio & Joe Torres from Schaumburg Township District Library wrapped it up with all the awesome stuff they're doing with their Teen Advisory Board.

Note: STDL gets corporate funding with its proximity to Sears, Motorola, Woodfield Mall

Teen Advisory Board
- had 9th anniversary in February
- now has 11-14 teens on the Board, mainly high school boys (including anime group, writing club) - TAB plans programs that they want to attend themselves
- Teen materials circ increased 600% (70% each years since TAB started)
- Input matters; TAB chooses themes, programs, logos, prizes, collection elements; plans their meetings; performs community service projects; redesigned Teen Center
- TAB members choose games and systems; surveys during Teen Read Week, Teen Tech Week, National Library Week

Game equipment
- most of the stuff purchased used (GameStop) w/ extended warranty as a possibility
- Cobalt Flux dance pads reserved for special occasions because they are so heavy and difficult to move, but offers true arcade experience. Best value is the Red Octane Dance Pads
- +3 portable LCD tvs

Gamers Group
- started in November 2006 at teens' request
- monthly session during school year, around 7 kids per meeting; use the group as a way to get info from teens about their interests

Future plans
- Integrating Web 2.0 elements (MySpace, Facebook, blog for communication in between sessions)
- More structured tournaments
- podcasting/videocasting (recently bought video camera to document gaming group activities)
- Wii Love Gaming

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