gaming in libraries: old idea

Some have tried smoking rooms, had boy’s club rooms and games, and many have tried simply to make the rooms homelike and cheery, and all of their experience is valuable to us.– “The Library as Social Centre“, the opening address of the Minnesota Library Association, October 12, 1905, by Miss Gratia Alta Countryman

Read the whole thing because it is awesome, but here’s another pull-out:

The whole building at all times should be managed in the broadest spirit of hospitality; the atmosphere should be as gracious, kindly and sympathetic as one’s own home. Then do away with all unnecessary restrictions, take down all the bars, and try to put face to face our friends the books and our friends the people.

Gratia Alta Countryman was city librarian until 1935.

6 thoughts on “gaming in libraries: old idea”

  1. At our gaming event today, I commented to one of the Adult Services staff, look at all the bags of books in here! If you want evidence that they will use other library services while they’re in the building, here you go!

    One boy off to the far right was sitting reading the latest Harry Potter book but had put it down when I got back with the camera. He’s been reading his own personal copy all summer, and is about halfway through now.

    We had 3 great games afternoons this summer, and today was rainy, so we got a little bigger crowd than the past 2 sessions. Each session this summer though brought in different faces, and different faces than had come to our gaming afternoons last spring. If they ALL came on 1 day, we’d have close to 100 kids.

  2. Oh, isn’t this brilliant! But the shame of it is we (collectively) relive our history and as a profession continue to try and bend public behavior to our will. How did you come across this, Aaron?

  3. Fewer rules forever – great, but what about saying, “sorry I spilled my coffee,” so somebody can clean it up before it leaves a big brown stain?

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