ALA Gaming Pavilion to showcase link between gaming and literacy

Contact: Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations

312-280-4393 / 5043 /


For Immediate Release

June 25, 2009

Demco, Gen Con, Screenlife Games, Wizards of the Coast and many more to participate

CHICAGO – In today’s technology-driven world, learning reaches beyond the classroom. As literacy formats change, the demand increases for these new resources. On July 11 to 14 at McCormick Place West in the Exhibits Hall, the American Library Association (ALA) Gaming Pavilion will showcase the latest format to support literacy in libraries – gaming.

The Gaming Pavilion, sponsored by Verizon, is part of the ALA Annual Conference held July 9 – 15. Game manufacturers, platform companies and vendors offering electronic games, board games, card games and other products and services used for curriculum-based teaching and recreation, will be featured. The Pavilion will also feature live workshops and multi-media resources for librarians who are interested in adding gaming programs for youth and adults.

“Gaming is a powerful tool for both literacy and learning,” said ALA President Jim Rettig. “Gamers are writers and readers. They write fan fiction and game reviews, create Web pages, design game modifications, read strategy guides, and blog about their game play.”

Throughout the country, libraries of all types are gaming. Public, school and academic libraries are holding video tournaments, creating gaming clubs, bringing in gaming equipment and video screens and providing the kinds of educational and social experiences that only a library can. As a result, library attendance within some of the hardest to reach demographics – children, teenagers and college students – is growing exponentially.

Many games reach across generations. With new systems like the Nintendo Wii and a mix of traditional and modern tabletop games available, everyone can play - from kids to grandparents.

Gaming Pavilion exhibitors include A+ Child Supply, The Burgeon Group, Chicago Toy & Game Fair, DEMCO, Gen Con,, Out of the Box Publishing, Screenlife Games, Top Trumps, Wizards of the Coast and Zillio.

Conference attendees interested in gaming activities should plan on attending ALA’s second annual “Open Gaming Night,” at 7 – 10 p.m., July 10 at the Chicago Hilton, International Ballroom South. Attendees will discover first-hand the excitement, entertainment and learning that video, role-playing and board games can bring to libraries. Open Gaming Night @ annual conference is sponsored by Verizon.

In 2008, the ALA launched “Libraries, Literacy, and Gaming,” an initiative funded by a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to track and measure the impact of gaming and literacy skills on youth 10-18 years of age, and build models for library gaming that can be deployed nationally. In April 2009, ALA and Verizon funded 10 libraries in 10 states from New York to Alaska. The winners – seven public, two school and one academic – will use the funds to develop and implement gaming and literacy programs that provide innovative gaming experiences. The 10 libraries were selected out of 390 that applied for the grant.

The ALA Annual Conference is the largest library gathering in the world, with more than 2,300 meetings, discussion groups, special events, tours and programs on various topics affecting libraries and librarians. For more information on the conference, please visit
or contact ALA Media Relations Manager, Macey Morales, at (312) 280-4393,
or ALA PR Coordinator, Jennifer Petersen, at (312) 280-5043 or