Welcome to The Video Game Librarian


The Video Game Librarian is a site for librarians that offers resources and tips on how games can be integrated into your library.

You’ll find programming ideas, stories about what other librarians are doing with games, a catalog of game-related books to help your patrons dive deeper into the history of games, updates on professional conferences, and collection development strategies, as well as a weekly roundup of news about the latest game releases.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how the ESRB works, how to build a core collection, or how to put on a game tournament… you’ve definitely come to the right place. Continue reading

2017’s Game of the Year Winners (Updated 1/13/18)

When searching for games to add to your collection, it’s always good to check-in with the five major industry award shows. The following games received “Game of the Year” honors in 2017:

    The Game Awards: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    GDC Awards: TBA – Nominees Announced
    DICE Awards: TBA – Nominees Announced
    SXSW Gaming Awards: TBA
    BAFTA Games Awards: TBA

A complete list of all winners and nominees can be found below. Continue reading

Ready Player One Read-Alikes @ Teen Services Underground

I think it’s fair to say that Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is absolutely one of the most popular novels about video games. And with a Spielberg-directed film adaptation scheduled to open on March 30, there’s likely going to be renewed interest in the book over the next few months.

Thankfully, Pamela Penza of Teen Services Underground has put together a Read-Alikes guide for fans of Ready Player One:

The cinematic adaptation of Ernest Cline’s popular novel Ready Player One releases in theaters on March 30. We all know what that means–everyone will want a copy of the novel, and none of them will be available. To cheer up dejected teens, try offering one of these titles.

Pamela’s picks include Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, Warcross by Marie Lu, and and a few others.

Best Games of 2017 @ Library Journal

The new gaming columnists at Library Journal have published a look at some of their favorite games of the year:

LJ’s new gaming columnists have chosen their favorite games of the year. The titles include board games, video games, and a mobile title that will appeal to a wide range of patrons with differing interests and experience.

In addition to several board games, Bungie’s Destiny 2 and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp were picked as two of Library Journal’s favorite video games from 2017.

Registration for ShushCon 2018 is Now Open

The Waccamaw Neck Branch Library (located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina) has opened registration for ShushCon 2018. ShushCon is a “games and geekery” convention that’ll be held from March 23 through March 25. Attendees will be able to try out a large number of video games, tabletop games, and escape rooms, while also taking part in events related to cosplay, anime, coding, and more.

The library will also host a Computational Thinking Games Workshop for librarians on March 23.

If you’re interested in attending ShushCon 2018, you can sign up for a free event badge with the Registration Form.

Multiplayer Games for the Switch @ Games In Libraries

Even though it’s been available for less than a year, the Nintendo Switch already has a huge catalog of exciting multiplayer titles. If you’re looking to add a Switch to your library programming schedule, the ALA’s Games In Libraries blog has created a list of the best multiplayer experiences on the console:

Since its launch, Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch, has seen an explosion in titles available. Many lend themselves well to multiplayer – here is a list of some particular recent standouts, around which a library could provide a good social gaming experience.

The list includes nine titles, and I’m a big fan of both Snipperclips Plus and Enter the Gungeon for multiplayer gaming.

And if you’re interested in cooperative multiplayer gaming, you might want to check out a similar list that was recently published by Inverse Genius’s Games in Schools and Libraries blog.

Running a Game Convention at Your Library

Game conventions come in all shapes and sizes… from small local shows all the way up to the sprawling PAX expos held every year in Seattle, Boston, San Antonio, and Philadelphia. In a bid to move beyond “Game Nights,” many public libraries are now in the business of running their own game conventions.

Believe it or not, this task isn’t as hard as you might think. Especially because there’s no one way to organize a game convention at your library, and there’s actually many different approaches you can try…

  • Partner with a local game shop to host demonstrations of new games.
  • Recruit local game developers to show off their latest projects.
  • Ask for volunteers in your community willing to share their game knowledge.
  • Or some combination of all three!

But the best way to get ideas for your game convention might be to reach out to librarians who have done it in the past.

List of Library-Organized Game Conventions
Here’s a small selection of libraries who have organized their own game convention. If you’d like your convention added to the list, please let me know…

Location: Lockport Branch of White Oak Library in Lockport, Illinois
Links: Convention Website | Contact Page

Made In Rochester Game Festival
Location: Irondequoit Public Library in Rochester, New York
Links: Convention Website | Contact Page

Location: Bethpage Public Library in Bethpage, New York
Links: Convention Website | Contact Page

Location: Waccamaw Neck Branch of Georgetown County Library in Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Links: Convention Website | Contact Page

Cooperative Four-Player Video Games @ Inverse Genius

There’s nothing quite like cramming four people around a video game screen and expecting them all to cooperate. And wouldn’t you know, the people at Inverse Genius’s Games in Schools and Libraries blog agree:

Do your gamers want to work together instead of compete? Do they want a challenge that is going to take everyone give their all to overcome? Cooperative games have players working together as a team to overcome the computer or some set challenge. There are so many great cooperative games out there. Here’s a list of some of our favorites!

Their suggestions run through some of the best four-player cooperative games on the PC and consoles today, including Overcooked, Pac-Man 256, Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (a VGL favorite), and more.

The Top Ten Best Games Ever @ Library Journal

M. Brandon Robbins has decided to step down as the author behind Library Journal’s monthly “Games, Gamers, & Gaming” column. But before he left, Robbins published a retrospective look back at his personal picks for the “Top Ten Best Games Ever.”

So head over to the Library Journal‘s site to see why he picked what he picked…

For five years, I’ve been honored to talk to LJ’s readers about games, the people who play them, and how bringing gaming into the library can help connect with patrons. Now, the time has come to pass the joystick to others. For my final play, this is the article I’ve been wanting to write since the beginning: my picks for the top ten greatest video games ever made.

10. Frogger
9. Tetris
8. Super Mario Bros.
7. Halo: Combat Evolved
6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
5. Batman: Arkham Asylum
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3. Half-Life 2
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

It’s a good selection of games. Tetris is a tad too low for my taste, but definitely a good list.