In episode 85, Matt Moffett talks board games with expert Gwen Fogel. Learn about the growing world of board games and how they can be used in your library’s programs.

Interview with Gwen Fogel

If you prefer, you can download the podcast directly to your computer or player of choice at the YALSA Podcast Site.

After listening, you can check out the following resources mentioned in the episode:

National Gaming Day @ your Library

ALA Librarians Guide to Gaming

Board Game Exchange

Board Game Geek

Board Games with Scott

Library Game Lab of Syracuse

I’m all about video games in libraries. ‘ I have a Wii and a Playstation 2 at my library, and have been having gaming programs a few times a month since I started last summer. ‘ It is certainly fun and brings in the teens, but recently I decided to try something new: board games and card games. ‘ I called it Low Tech Gaming. ‘ The program had a good turnout and was so much fun, that I’ve decided to add it to the Friday afternoon rotation.

The games I used: ‘ Apples to Apples, Jenga, Chicopoly and chess. ‘ ‘ Several board game titles are available from Demco, which is where I purchased some of these. The others my library had. ‘ Click through for details of our gaming session.

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Scott Nicholson, a faculty member at the Syracuse University school of Information Studies has developed this video for librarians to help celebrate National Gaming Day @ Your Library on November 15. Scott describes how to play Hasbro’s Pictureka! which (thanks to ALA and Hasbro) every public library in the U.S. will receive a copy. The goals of the event being:

  • Raise awareness about the use of games as a library program
  • Expose people to a new type of board game
  • Establish connections between local board game groups and the library

Scott also gives a handful of other ideas in the video for participating on this day. Feel free to share your thoughts as well.

On January 16th, the ALA Council approved the formation of the Games and Gaming Member Initiative Group. The charge for the group, is:
To engage those interested in games and gaming activities in libraries and to collaborate with ALA units to support gaming initiatives and programs across the Association. Games, as defined in their broadest sense to include traditional and modern board, card, video, mobile, computer, live-action, roleplaying and miniature games, and gaming activities, including planning and running gaming programs, providing games for informal play, developing a game collection, creating games, development of information and other literacies through games and partnering with other community organizations to support gaming, will be topics for professional exploration. This group is open to all members.

Scott Nicholson (srnichol at, associate professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and director of the Library Game Lab of Syracuse, appeared before the ALA Committee on Organization on January 15th as a Designated Organizer with a petition with 149 member signatures to request that the group be started as a channel to bring together librarians of all types to talk about tabletop and digital games.

The Member Initiative Group structure is designed for new topics and creates an ALA organization that lives for 3 years. After that time, if the group is flourishing, it can apply to become part of the ALA’s permanent organizational structure as a Round Table. ALA will be creating a discussion forum, blog, wiki, and other methods for the group to begin discussions shortly. More information about the Library Game Lab of Syracuse and updates on the Games and Gaming MIG will be posted here.

This group does not replace the YALSA Gaming Interest Group but will only make it stronger as we can collaborate more across divisions over the topic of gaming.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Join the Gaming Discussion Group on Saturday, June 23, 1:30p-3:30p at the JW Marriott/Commerce Room. We’ll be talking about the Library Game Lab at Syracuse with Scott Nicholson and at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County with Matt Gullett. We’ll also be electing a convener and co-convener of the group and firming up plans for ALA in Annaheim. Bring your ideas and success stories regarding game design in libraries to share.
Please add your suggestions to the YALSA Gaming Discussion Group wiki for the top 50 recommended games. Check out our ALA online communities page as well. Chair: Beth Gallaway (informationgoddess29 at gmail dot com) and co-chair: Kelly Czarnecki (kczarnecki at plcmc dot org).

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

My colleague recently shared this videocast (14 minutes) from a professor at Syracuse that demonstrates various board games that many people might not be familiar with.

While I liked the video, the host of the program starts off by saying, “Back in the day, families got together to play any variety of games at home, but in this day and age of electronics, it’s tough to unplug and get together.”

We recently had a family gaming night with console games such as Super Monkey Ball, Madden ’06, and DDR, board games such as chess and Monopoly, and retro games on the PC such as Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Tetris. Do other libraries have stories to share with family gaming nights at the library?

As James Paul Gee says in the following article in regards to computer and video-“that games are more a social pastime than an antisocial one.”

Don’t Bother Me Mom-I’m Learning! by Prensky talks a lot about the interaction that can take place with families and video gaming.

I think family gaming nights with video and board games can be valuable for libraries and teens-especially to help create those situations where teen participation can take place to figure out how such an event might run.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

At my high school, after the first week of new quarter, members of the current graduating class in good standing could opt out of silent study hall and spend the rest of the quarter in the Senior Privilege area. “Senior Priv” was something for the freshman, sophomores and juniors to look forward to, and for the seniors to lord over the heads of the lower classes. It was nothing more than linoleum tiled room, directly under the library, outfitted with vending machines, breakfast service before noon, tables to encourage socializing — and games. Uno was the favorite activity in 1992, and pouring over Where’s Waldo? books in search of the man in the red & white striped shirt was a close second.

Today on the YALSA-BK list, someone asked about games popular with teens in libraries today – traditional board games, puzzles, and card games – that the library might purchase and have on hand. It sounds like a few librarians even jump in and play along.

The subject is a bit off topic for that particular listserv, so I recommended that we move the conversation to the new ALA Online Communities. Its like bulletin boards with discussion forums, calendar, and file space, and the new YALSA Gaming Discussion Group has a community all it’s own.

To access ALA Online Communities:

1. Go to

2. Login with your username (ALA #) and password). Don’t have a password? For password help, go to:

If you know your membership # go to

(If you are REALLY in a pinch, try calling 1-800-545-2433 during regular business hours.)

3. After you’ve logged in, to locate the YALSA Gaming Discussion Group:
Click “Divisions” from the left menu
Click “YALSA” from the left menu
Click “Teen Gaming Discussion Group” from the left menu

Click “Discussion Forums” from the top menu

After you’ve logged in, click “Documents”
Open the ALA Participants File:

The original query about games has not been reposted yet but I did start to compile a list of responses – look under the Board Games forum and add your response: What card, puzzle and board games do YOU recommend for in-house collections?

~posted by Beth Gallaway