Libraries with game collections – including tabletop games, consoles, and even gaming PCs -- are becoming more common. The results of a nationwide survey distributed in late summer 2018 give an overview of the current state of games in libraries. This information is valuable to all types of libraries with game collections as well as those that are investigating the possibility of a new game collection or applying for grants to support a future or current collection. Our poster will illustrate the findings from this gaming census and provide a timely snapshot of a rapidly growing trend in libraries.
Games in libraries provide value to patrons in a variety of ways: they supplement coursework, support creative programming, provide recreation opportunities and can allow patrons to experience cutting edge technology such as virtual reality. Over 10 years ago the first census of games in North American libraries was published; this provided baseline data for use in research and collection management and included information about circulation of games, policies to support gaming, features of gaming programs, goals and outcomes of these programs, and the costs of gaming programs (Nicholson, 2009). The 2008 census data is now too outdated to be useful. Our 2018 study of games in libraries provides a updated information that can help researchers understand how libraries are using games in 2017.