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Thousands gathered at hundreds of libraries across the globe Saturday to participate in and celebrate the sixth International Games Day, an annual event designed to bring community members together by sharing their love for playing games.
The event is sponsored by the American Library Association and is held on the third Saturday in November. This is the first time Weber State University’s Stewart Library has participated in the event.
“Libraries are becoming more than a place where you can check out books,” said John Sears, Stewart Library evening supervisor, who organized the event. “They’re becoming community centers as well.”
Game manufacturers and designers donate games to be demonstrated as part of the event. WSU students and members of the community played a variety of new card and board games, but many still migrated to the tables with their old favorites.
WSU sophomore Jeri Hawkins brought her five children to the event. “Every year for Christmas we get a new board game, then spend our Christmas learning to play it,” she said. “This has given me really good ideas on what to get this year.”
SaltCON, a Salt Lake City company that hosts an annual board game convention, brought three shelves of games to be played at the event. SaltCON participates in many game days throughout the state. According to SaltCON’s organizers, what it brought to the Stewart Library represents about 40 percent of its collection.
“People don’t communicate anymore; everyone gets on their iPhone or their other devices and puts earbuds in. A game allows you to have social interaction face to face with people,” said Dale Giffords, SaltCON organizer. “Communication, critical thinking, problem-solving — all these people are really learning.”
Participants played classics such as chess and checkers, and there were many popular contemporary games such as Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan, as well as lesser-known games hailing from all over the world. Sears and the organizers from SaltCON said they were always willing to teach someone how to play a new game.
Players won prizes through random drawings, among other incentives throughout the day. Local game companies and designers donated the prizes. The event went all day with 2-30 players concurrently.
The library opened the video game lab to allow patrons to play video games as part of their gaming experience.
According to the ALA’s website, “Many libraries are stocking their shelves with video games, planning board game competitions, and participating in an international video game tournament. As a result, recreational library attendance by kids, teenagers, college students, families, and seniors will skyrocket even further.”
This year, the event included participation from the Base Library at Casey Station in Antarctica.
Sears said he hopes he can do more events like this in the future, even if they’re not tied to an international event.
“You can spend 20 or 30 bucks on dinner and a movie for one date, or you spend 20 or 30 bucks on a game (that) you use for many dates,” he said.