Sunday, January 3, 2016

Board Games!

It's been a busy year for my library.  Since our millage passed, we are once again fully staffed and able to do a lot of things we didn't have a lot of time to devote to before, like outreach. 

My favorite project this year has been building our Circulating Board Game collection.  It's not a new idea or one I came up with on my own.  I blatantly stole this from my pal-on-social-media John Pappas, who blogs about his experiences here:

It started, for me, with a little extra money in the budget and no physical space for more books. The next step was an email to my direct boss wherein I made excellent points about nontraditional collections and the resurgence of games.  Just kidding, it said this:

Obviously there was some back and forth about specifics, but I am lucky enough to work somewhere where we're encouraged to at least give things a try!  So I bought 10 popular games to get us started.  When they were ready to go, I posted about them on our FB page.

This remains our most popular post of all time.  162 likes, 67 shares, over 10,000 page views.  This was shared all around the world!  Many of the games were checked out by the end of THAT DAY.

And they stayed out!  We'd initially been worried about shelf space, but it turns out that the games are out most of the time.  Youth Services chipped in some funds and we added games for kids and more adult games.  We're now up to 53 games!  Right this minute, 5 are "in", 5 are "just returned" and the rest are checked out or on hold. People LOVE this collection--including staff!  One of our pages has taken home almost every game at least once to try out. 

The stats are a little misleading at this point, because I've been adding games in waves--so the ones I added earliest make up most of our top 10 list:

The biggest thing that held people back from being supportive of this collection can be summed up with the phrase,


So here's the reality, after 6 months.  Total number of missing items: 2.  Well, 3 if you count a pair of dice as two items.  We've lost one tiny red gem (easily replaced, we have closets full of that sort of thing in Youth Services), and a pair of dice--also easily replaced.  That's it.  The games come back repackaged perfectly, our patrons are very respectful of the game collection.

Other FAQs:

Who selects the games?
-me. I started with games I knew were popular, like Ticket to Ride and Cattan.  Since then I've been using board game awards and amazon recommendations to pick other games.  The only game that hasn't been super popular is Hanabi.

Who catalogs the games?
-me.  They have very very basic cataloging--title, publisher, and the blurb on the back of the box.

Who checks for all the little pieces?
-me.  THOUGH now that we're up to 53 games, the circulation department has been  helping out when they can. 

How are they processed?
-The games are circulated right in their boxes, which are secured with 4-way rubber bands.  I put stickers with our name on the bigger things in the box (instructions, game boards), and keep little pieces in baggies. Most games actually come with little ziplock type bags, and we have some adorable tiny drawstring bags leftover from when we had a library store that I use for things like dice.  Some of the boxes are getting a little worn, when they do i give them a round of book tape.  So far this has worked just fine.

Where are the games in the library?

-We keep them all next to the video games, in our popular materials department, even the games for little kids.  We don't really want people to use them in the building--though they can if they really want to.

Basic stats:  Games are holdable and renewable, circulate for two weeks, and have a $1/day late fee.

If you want to start a collection but are having trouble getting permission or getting staff on board, the "I will handle everything to do with this" model works, so long as you're, you know, willing to handle it all.  It's worth it for me!