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International Games Week

International Games Week – November 7-13, 2024

International Games Week, designated for every second week of November, from November 7–November 13 this year, is when communities worldwide can connect with their libraries through various types of games. Did you know that when the first libraries were created 5,000 years ago, they marked the beginning of history? Libraries have evolved over the years as a repository of knowledge and information, from brick and mortar to living on the World Wide Web. Games played during this period range from trivia games and tabletop games (“Dungeons and Dragons”) to board games (chess) and video games (“Call of Duty”).

History of International Games Week

The history of International Games Week is the history of libraries since the event is held yearly in them. The library has constantly changed over the millennia, from antiquity and renaissance to the enlightenment era and modern public libraries.

The first libraries were discovered in Southwest Asia’s Fertile Crescent around 3000 B.C., considered the birthplace of writing. These libraries had bookshelves of wooden boxes, woven reed baskets, or clay shelves that held clay tablets or papyrus. Similar libraries were found in Ancient Egypt, Persia, and Nineveh. The most incredible library of that time was the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It was constructed in the 3rd century and served as a significant center of scholarship for the ancient world before the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.

Libraries strived during the Greco-Roman period. They served to demonstrate status and were owned by wealthy patrons, such as merchants, senators, and military men. An example is the Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Anatolia, which was built to honor Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. There was also an increase in public and private libraries during this period, with the latter featuring bookshelves of citrus wood inlaid with ivory.

The Renaissance saw libraries as the center for academic study and the congregation place of scholars, learned, and enlightened individuals. The major Renaissance libraries include the Malatestiana Library in Venice, Bibliotheca Corviniana in Hungary, and Tianyi Chamber in China. The Enlightenment era can be described as the golden era of libraries, with the rise of subscription libraries, book clubs, and national libraries in Britain and Europe.

With the 19th century came laws and policies that enabled libraries to strive across the United Kingdom, although some were lost to German bombings. In 1833, the U.S. saw the opening of its first tax-supported public library in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Legislations and the founding of the Carnegie Library Endowment led to 75–80% of the libraries across the United States. The 19th century also saw the founding of the American School Library, the American Library, and African American literary societies.

n the 21st century, libraries became digital as books also transformed from paperback to ebooks and audiobooks. That made it easier for people to access information and knowledge, even in areas without libraries. But that negatively impacted the number of people using library services, as people then don’t have to visit libraries to access books. This is one of the reasons why the American Library Association collaborated with national library associations in other countries to introduce International Games Week to reconnect people with the libraries in their communities.

International Games Week timeline

3000 B.C.
The First Libraries

The first libraries are found in Fertile Crescent, Southwest Asia.

3rd Century B.C.
The Greatest Library of the Ancient World

The Library of Alexandria in Egypt, built during the reign of Ptolemy, is the largest library of the ancient world and a center of scholarship.

The Extent of Andrew Carnegie’s Magnanimity

Andrew Carnegie’s contribution leads to the creation of 75–80% of the libraries across the United States.

21st Century
The Rise of Digital Libraries

Libraries begin offering access to digital services, including internet skills and access, and some operate entirely online.

International Games Week FAQs

What is the oldest and largest library in the world?

The Library of Ashurbanipal, built in 7th century B.C. in modern-day Iraq, is the oldest and largest library in the world with about 30,000 cuneiform tablets.

Which countries read the most?

India ranks number one as the country that reads the most, with a reading time of 10 hours and 42 minutes per week.

How fast does the average person read?

Most adults can read about 200–250 words per minute. 

How To Celebrate International Games Week

  1. Check for libraries participating in International Games Week and attend

    Several libraries across the country always participate yearly in the International Games Week, as it’s an initiative of the American Library Association. You can check with your public library to see if they are involved or research online to see the list of participating libraries.

  2. Organize a gaming event in your community’s public library

    Suppose the public library in your community is not aware of International Games Week. In that case, you can get them involved by organizing the gaming event for them, especially if they don’t have the resources. Get the library to allocate a space where the event will take place throughout the week. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the library itself, you can use the library compound. You will then also need to source games for people to play – this can be done through donations. Promote the event through print media and social media, and have a blast when the week finally arrives.

  3. Spread the news

    You can play your part by sharing the news about International Games Week, especially if your public library is participating. Also, use the opportunity to share interesting information about libraries to get more people educated on why libraries are essential in their communities.

5 Interesting Facts About Libraries In The United States

  1. The LOC is the world’s largest

    The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is the biggest in the world when it comes to catalog depth with 170 million items.

  2. They offer free music catalogs

    Many libraries in the U.S. are part of Freegal, a service that offers patrons access to over 15 million tracks.

  3. Paranormal romance genre is loved in prison

    Books in the paranormal romance genre are among the most read in U.S. prisons.

  4. A library that borders two countries

    The Haskell Free Library and Opera House, Vermont, is a library located at the border between the United States and Canada.

  5. They offer passport services

    Many libraries in the United States offer passport application services in addition to traditional library services.

Why We Love International Games Week

  1. International Games Week is fun

    The week is entirely dedicated to games, and nothing more than games, though they have to be played in or around libraries. There are no restrictions to the sort of games that can be played during International Games Week. It could be video games on a library console, party games, board games, traditional folk games, or tabletop games. But no drinking games are allowed.

  2. International Games Week makes us rediscover the beauty of libraries

    Statistics have shown that public library usage has steadily declined over the years. Libraries are a repository of knowledge and culture, and they offer the essential resources needed to transform society. They are also a vital part of any community and help build informed and healthy communities. International Games Week strives to reconnect communities through their libraries. That means bringing people, both young and old, back to the library to recognize why it’s still relevant today.

  3. International Games Week brings communities together

    International Games Week is all about games, libraries, and communities. It is not limited only to young people; older people can also participate in International Games Week activities. It allows you to connect with individuals in their communities and meet with people you have not come across before.

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