Building communities through the joy of board games.Group of twentysomethings playing board games

Overview

We will build a collection of board games that can be checked out with a library card and played at home. Board games teach spatial reasoning, math concepts, probability and social skills and foster a feeling of community within families and between gamers.

Board games are the only media in the library that specifically encourages face-to-face social interaction. At a time when so many parents are worried about the passive, isolated consumption of digital media, board games help people of different backgrounds solve problems, and have fun together in a physical rather than digital space. Gaming builds teamwork, storytelling, planning, sportsmanship, reading comprehension, and an awareness of probability. We will first develop a collection of games for families. Although the collection will only circulate to adults and young adults with library accounts, the games will be selected with an eye to “gateway” games that can be checked out and played by families with kids and teens.

Our initiative is designed to address three needs. The first is a need for connection between the library and the gaming community, starting with the gaming community nearby the Central Library. The second, and perhaps larger need is in line with the most fundamental mission of our library, free and open access to educational and recreational resources that might otherwise be beyond the means of individual members of the community. Third, by focusing on games for family play, we will address a need for connection and entertainment within the smallest unit of community, the family.

Desired Outcomes

A successful outcome would be achieved if the board games circulate well, and, in a year’s time, there continues to be an avid public interest in the collection. This will be measured by tracking circulation and through wait-lists. Ideally, library-based public programming, such as gaming groups, will organically emerge among patrons as a result of this service.

This proposal was prepared for the Crown Heights and Central Libraries.

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