For immediate release | December 3, 2013

Gaming circles the world during ALA's International Games Day

CHICAGO — On Saturday, Nov. 16, libraries around the world on all seven continents celebrated games and gaming for the American Library Association’s International Games Day @ your library. This event occurs on the third Saturday of each November as a way to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational and social value of gaming. This sixth year was a huge success, with many libraries noting the value of this free event for their libraries and community.

Each year libraries come together to celebrate their love of games, and each time libraries have great feedback to report about what happened at their programs. One librarian who volunteered at an event said “my favorite part of International Games Day was seeing strangers become friends and families laughing and bonding while playing Monopoly, Twister, or a dance game.” Another thinks that “games are a necessary part of creating positive interactions between generations and people of different cultures.” This year's Games Day gave one librarian the ability to participate in an event that occurs around the world and also offered “a feeling of solidarity with other libraries.”

Not only do patrons get the chance to develop relationships and interact with each other, libraries get to learn about other libraries' innovative game ideas. One library set up “Teach me” tables moderated by faculty for patrons to learn new board games. This event was also used as a great way to showcase games developed by computer programming students. These are just two of the innovative ways librarians involve patrons on this day.

International Games Day sponsors have been very generous, which is vital for libraries that lack the funding to purchase new games for their collections. One of these donated games is "Tapple," a fast-paced category word game that was donated by USAopoly. Respondents claimed that it had their gamers laughing hysterically and shouting out the answers in multiple languages to beat the timer. "Crossways," another USAopoly game, was deemed by one family as a great way to combine the love of card games and strategy games.

Heartland Games donated the games "Square Shooters-Poker Matching with Cards-on-Dice!" and "Rodeo Rummy-Roll, Spin & Win!", two dice games that provide great ways for kids to learn new game skills. Many parents also used these unique dice games to create new games.

Konami not only donated "Yu-Gi-Oh!" kits but sent out judges to help demo and run tournaments at selected libraries. This was a boon to libraries that didn't have the capability to run this type of event on their own.

GameTable Online generously offered online access to all of their multi-player board, card and dice games for several days around the event.

Libraries on all seven of the planet's continents were joined by a single game: the "Global Gossip Game," a continuous game of Gossip (also known as "Telephone" and "Broken Telephone") that passed from library to library and timezone to timezone around the world.

The game began in Geelong, Australia, as "Play is training for the unexpected" (from a paper by biologists Spinka, Newberry and Bekoff).

It then traveled through Antarctica, Asia, Africa and Europe, then branched twice in the Americas. The three endings on the day were:

  • "I love the world" in Washington, DC;
  • "Zombie" in Winlock, Wash.; and
  • "Clouds travel around the world" in Talkeetna, Ark.

In all, the GGG had 840 participants and ran for 29 hours straight, through 74 libraries in 18 international jurisdictions and 6 languages. The longest branch traveled 114,609 kilometres (71,230 miles), and the total distance traveled was 151,927 kilometres (94,423 miles). The final report, which includes more surprises and two more endings, is available at

Each year this event gets even better with more fun and gaming had by all. The American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Round Table would like to thank everyone who took the time to volunteer and participate to make this event such a success. We hope to see everyone at next year's event on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014!

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Jenny Levine

Strategy Guide

Games and Gaming Round Table