Libraries, Video Games

Gaming Programs For All Ages at the Library by Tom Bruno

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I’m excited about Tom Bruno’s new book, Gaming Programs For All Ages at the Library. Not only is Tom a most excellent, community focused librarian, but he’s also one hell of a gamer and he knows his stuff. I couldn’t think of a better person to be writing about gaming in libraries than Tom.

I got a chance to read through the book before it came out and let me tell you, this is a great resource to have if you’re looking into all things gaming at your library or even if you already have some gaming programs and collections in place. What this book does best is inspire the reader to keep trying, to keep growing, and to remember that gaming events really cater to a unique audience in your community. That’s one of the qualities of what great libraries do…they notice how they can reach out to everyone in their community. Gamers are a part of our communities, and Tom’s book will help you not only reach out and get them to the library but keep them there for years to come. I couldn’t recommend this book enough.

You can purchase a copy of Gaming Programs For All Ages at the Library by Tom Bruno here. Better yet, if you’re reading this here’s a promo discount code for 30% off of the book: RFLANDF30 (EDIT 6/5/18 this code only works in the USA and I will update later if/when I have an international code)


Here’s the official details on the book:

Gaming Programs for All Ages at the Library: A Practical Guide for Librarians
by Tom Bruno

Join librarian and lifelong gamer Tom Bruno on his quest to bring gaming to his library community, from bringing back classic board games such as Fireball Island to offering free play in the latest virtual reality games using the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive!

Gaming Programs for All Ages at the Library shows you how you can launch and support gaming programming in your library, including:

  • how to make the case for library gaming with your administration
  • how to acquire and loan gaming materials (whether or not you have the budget for them!)
  • how to publicize your library gaming programming
  • how to incorporate other library units into the gaming experience.

Everything from acquisitions to budgeting to circulation is covered in this practical guide — you’ll also learn about promotion, assessment, and experiential learning opportunities.

PLEASE NOTE: this isn’t a promoted post or anything like that. I don’t do those. I will probably get a free copy of the book at some point and that’s it.I’m doing this post for three reasons:

  1. I like Tom. I always have. He has a good and positive message at all times and he brings something good into this world.
  2. I love video games in libraries, and the more we talk about it and the more do it the better it will become. This books helps that mission.
  3. Along with Jenny Levine and Scott Nicholson, Tom names me as being part of what he calls The Dynamic Trio of Library Video Gaming in the book, and he also quotes some of my publications on video games and libraries and talks about how there was once a Ms. Pac Man machine on The 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library. That was very kind of him. It was also very neat to be mentioned alongside these really great people.
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Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Library Director

Library Stuff That I Am Proud Of

I don’t blog much about what I’ve been up to at the Benson Memorial Library because every time I sit down to do it everything ends up sounding so boring that what I was up to in libraries in the past. I mean, what can top The 2nd Floor at the Chattanooga Public Library? We had a freakin’ arcade there!

When it comes to being a library director, my life is very different than it was when I was involved in Youth Services yet at the same time there is a whiff of familiarity in this job. No matter what I’m doing in libraries, I find that the common thread that connects everything is that I am advocating constantly for services for our community members. That’s really the core of it all….trying to get a safe and fun spot for teens is the same as figuring out a way to get my employees better pay and benefits. No matter what I’m doing, the end goal is always to make the community where I live a stronger place.

All of this hit me when I was putting together our yearly fund drive. You’ll see the end result of that work in the two images at the top of this post. While I was in Chattanooga I learned a lot about the value of the numbers we collect and how they help tell our story to the community. Our numbers at the Benson Memorial Library so far this year (Jan 1-Aug 31) blew me a way so I shared those with our community. It was great to finally send out these Patron Fund Drive letters last week and I look forward to seeing what the community thinks about the Benson Memorial Library once they read up on what we’ve done recently.

Here’s a few other things that we’ve done that I am most proud of. It may not be as fancy as getting a 3D printer in the library or something like that, but I think that the work we’ve done here so far is pretty awesome and I sure am proud of it.

  • June 2015-August 2016: 82058 items have been circulated
  • January-September 28 2016: 40698 visitors to the library
  • June 2015-Present: 313 free events held at the library
  • Renovated the front steps: The sandstone steps were in dire need of repair, and this summer we did just that; we not only got them fixed, but we made some repairs to them that will help them last for many more years.
  • Weeded the entire collection (yes, all of it) in order to reorganize most of the library and give the shelves space so that we can update our collection to fit the needs of the community today.
  • Got some grants to help with quite a few things: building improvement, Youth Services, programming, and more.
  • Updated most if not all of the library policies
  • Updated our Employee Personnel Policy and got 2 months maternity/paternity leave for employees.
  • Decreased our yearly health care costs by $5000-$8000 and increased benefits for the individuals on our plan (they went from a $500 deductible down to a $0 deductible)
  • Kind of sort of restarted the Friends of the Library group (it’s a long story, but we’re getting there very slowly) and ran 3 successful book sales.
  • Hired 3 new employees (two youth services folks, one all purpose staff member who I’m hoping will become our future local history guru)
  • I was asked to join two boards: Titusville Regional Literacy Council and the Titusville Senior Center. These help the library keep in touch with two key demographics and gives us a great chance to work with these organizations to make sure we are helping out everyone in our community.
Benson Memorial Library, Community Building, Family, Libraries

Outreach/Community

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Here at the Benson Memorial Library I’m kind of thrust into the  outreach portion of the library. I don’t mind at all….it is a portion of my job that I’ve enjoyed at every library I have worked at and I believe it is one of the most important things a public library can do in this day in age. Getting out there and talking to your community can lead to amazing things.

This past weekend, my town held its yearly Oil Fest event. The library wasn’t really involved in my first year here as we were just moving in and getting settled. This year, we went all out. On Friday, the library kicked off the festival with our LOL: Lunch on the Lawn Local Music Series. All through the week we hosted the Oil Region Alliance Exhibit “Walking The Line“. We had a booth at the festival where we raised money through our Friends of the Library group by raffling off a basket of books donated by DK Publishing (thanks!)

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The big event was our participation in the parade (pictured above). My awesome partner Haley, our sons Finn and Aero, and our most awesome janitor/all around radical human being Emi Foxberg and her kids Tilley and Abe led our “float”. I use quotes because it was just a book cart full of 200 books that were handed out to kids. Many thanks to Haley for pushing that rickity old cart for a mile in the 95% humidity that day.

You make outreach happen however you can. Sometimes you have staff helping out. Sometimes you have volunteers and library related groups like the board of directors or the Friends of the Library helping out. Other times, you call on family and friends. Outreach is a lot of work: there’s the planning and the execution. Always thank those who help out every step of the way. In the end, always remember just how important outreach is to the community. This gets your library’s name in all the conversations happening around the community. It is a positive thing. THIS is one of the ways we can keep libraries relevant and funded in the 21st century.