ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Virtual Playtime with GameRT at #alamw21

GameRT presented examples for virtual gaming, as well as resources and tips for introducing them to patrons. Our presenters were Dan Major of Orion Township Public Library (adult services), Erica Ruscio of Ventress Memorial Library (teen services), Rebecca Strang of Naperville Public Library (children’s services), and Jeff Pinsker of AMIGO Games (CEO).

Their tips for game programming include:

  • Keep consistent in scheduling and platform choice (keep using Zoom or Discord if that’s what you have been using).
  • Always have an adult moderator in each virtual room for protection.
  • Review game rules at the beginning of each session so that you don’t lose anyone, even if you know they have played before.
  • Try to keep things simple. Complicated rules can become a barrier.
  • Consider needs and accessibility for patrons (avoid games that require payment and check out Meeple Like Us to find accessible board game reviews).
  • Develop relationships with game stores and toy stores to discover popular, new games and learn about more resources.
  • Be sure to also check out boardgamegeek.com for more reviews!

Steam, Twitch, and YouTube are all excellent resources for gaming examples and learning how to play, so you can learn and share them with patrons. Wizards of the Coast owns Magic the Gathering, including the online Magic the Gathering Arena, and Dungeons & Dragons. You can use Schmeppy as a virtual game mat, as suggested by Erica for D&D virtual mini campaigns.

Some of the best board games for converting to a virtual space are roll/flip and write games, as well as party games. You can plan DIY group games like Category Round Up, Who’s That?, Scavenger Hunts (especially if you want to get to know each other), and Emoji Games.

Games are great options for family time or for connecting with friends in a virtual way, as well as meeting new people. You can get creative with the variety of games out there and just have fun trying them out! Here is the PDF handout from the event with links to the resources.


Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC. 

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