Running a Booth For Your Library at a Geeky Convention @ Programming Librarian

New conventions celebrating “Geek Culture” are sprouting up all over the place, and there’s a place for your library on the show floor whether your local geeky gathering is focused on comics, science fiction, video games, or all of the above.

Sarah Gallagher, the Outreach Librarian at the Whitehorse Public Library in Canada’s Yukon Territory, recently approached Programming Librarian with “Ten Reasons to Do a Pop-Up at Your Comic Convention,” and it’s not all about marketing:

Yukon Public Libraries is big on geek culture. We collect comics, graphic novels, role-playing game rule books, anime, medieval cookbooks and costuming manuals, and we host a popular weekly role-playing game (RPG) drop-in program for teens. So naturally we saw a place for ourselves at YukomiCon, the biannual celebration of geek culture organized by the Yukon Comic Culture Society.

OK, Gallagher does talk a bit about the marketing aspect of running a booth at your local “Geek Culture” convention. But she also looks at the benefits you’ll see by talking to your patrons in a new setting, gaining valuable feedback from congoers, and networking with folks from the community. Also… “It’s super fun!”

Interested in hosting your own convention? Our guide, “Running a Game Convention at Your Library,” can help.

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.

Stardew Valley Review @ Teen Services Underground

A few months ago, I introduced Stardew Valley as “a retro-styled farming game” and said, “[it] first appeared on the PC in February 2016. Since then, it has also cultivated a large fanbase on the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The serene simulation is the work of a single developer, Eric Barone, and it was hugely inspired by the Harvest Moon franchise.”

That introduction lead into a glowing review of Stardew Valley at School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox.

Yesterday, Teen Librarian Dustan Archer published a review of Stardew Valley for Teen Services Underground after spending quite a lot of time with the game:

I think it’s safe to say that he highly recommends it as well:

Stardew Valley is an indie role-playing farming simulator, very similar in style to the Harvest Moon franchise. Even the graphics are a throwback, but they’re beautiful in comparison to older consoles. You start off on an old, poorly maintained farm and begin to craft a new life for yourself. You decide what you want to do with your allotment of time and energy every day – whether it’s farming, raising livestock, fighting monsters, mining ore, or building friendships with the rest of the village’s inhabitants. You can craft all kinds of items, grow various types of crops (many of which only grow in specific seasons), go fishing, get married and have children. Very little in the game is mandatory and it is totally open-ended as to how and when you decide you’re ‘done’, if ever.


Truly, this game captured me like no other in the last few years. I’ve spent over 100 hours on two separate playthroughs, and few games can get my attention like that. It has become my go-to game when I just want to relax after a long day, do something that doesn’t require too much thinking, and enjoy either the peaceful music in game or my own soundtrack that I play in the background. The community is fairly robust and friendly, and there’s a great wiki on the game if you want to look up hints and tips rather than discover things for yourself.

Barone is still working on Stardew Valley, and he’ll bring the game to the Vita in 2018, along with a multiplayer mode on all platforms.

Hearthstone 101 @ Inverse Genius

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft continues to be a popular choice in the competitive gaming scene, and Stephanie Frey from Inverse Genius’s Games in Schools and Libraries blog has put together a new how-to guide for librarians interested in trying out the Collectible Card Game (CCG):

Are your gamers interested in Hearthstone? Do they already like games like Magic the Gathering and Yugioh? Do you want to try something new to attract a new group of the gamer curious to your library or school club? Here is everything you need to get started.

Hearthstone is a FREE Online Collectible Card Game. It is played over PC, Android, or Apple devices and an online connection is required. This is a game where gamers construct decks from cards they collect either from leveling up their characters by playing matches or from buying booster packs with points earned or cash. While it is free to play, each gamer can have their own account or the moderator can make guest accounts available, players can earn in-game currency to purchase additional booster packs and game modes or do the same by spending real money. We are getting a lot of play without spending a penny.

Looking for more Hearthstone information? Find all posts tagged with a Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft label now!