By Iris Shipley, Grace Prust, Rianna Jones & Ashley Harrison
Many students are not aware of all the kinds of resources that they have access to through the Cofrin Library at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.
The library is not just a space to study and read; it can also be a space to have fun with friends! Recently, the library acquired a collection of board games, role-playing games and books, video games, and dice. The collection was inspired by assistant professors at UW-Green Bay.
According to Cofrin Library circulation manager Erica Grunseth, several instructors in the Humanities program use games in the classroom and were open to partnering with the library for support. Assistant Professor Kris Purzycki donated a large section of the games available, and the library purchased the other items.
The game collection is new for the Cofrin Library, but libraries that loan items other than books are nothing new. This concept is called the “Library of Things (LOT).” Items that are loaned out can range from children’s toys to kitchen supplies to tools. The Cofrin Library has previous LOT collections. Kindles, iPads, laptops, and cameras were all available for students to check out years ago.
Library director Paula Ganyard is able to give insight into what the collection will bring to students. “The benefit to having a Library of Things is simple: it provides access.” Providing access is about more than just having the games available. Paula goes on to explain that board games and role-play games can be expensive hobbies. Games cost money, and college students are known for having limited funds. These costs can add up quickly if students want to have all the options. According to Academiccommons.org, games also take up storage space, and that’s a limited resource for students living on campus. The library has the space and resources available to provide this kind of access to students.
The new game collection at the library offers a wide array of games. Ranging from classic board and card games to role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, and dice sets. There is also a Nintendo Switch and a few select games as well that can be checked out. Erica says that all of “the board games, dice, and role-play games can be checked out for a week.” However, there are restrictions and limitations on how many dice sets can be checked out with each role-playing game.
The Nintendo Switch can be checked out by both students and faculty. Students can check the Nintendo Switch out for three hours, and faculty can check it out for three days. The reason for a longer check-out period for faculty, according to Erica, is that faculty may need the console during the classes the faculty member teaches. They also say that games cannot be downloaded to the Nintendo Switch because it cannot connect to the campus Wi-Fi.
Any of the required dice for the games and video game console can be asked for and checked out at the circulation desk on the third floor of the library.
The Cofrin Library hosts the Center of Games and Interactive Media game night every first and third Tuesday of the month starting at 5:30 PM. Erica Grunseth says all students, faculty, and staff are welcome to enjoy the games and play with anyone else who shows up. She says this game night will be a great way to bring students to the library to enjoy the collection.
Paula Ganyard also expressed excitement about the possibility of most students enjoying the library but is more excited about helping students access games. “It would be awesome if thousands of students would use this new collection, but if only a hundred students do, then we have still done our job by providing those students with access.”
Burkhardt, Andy. “Taking Games in Libraries Seriously.” Academic Commons, Archive of the Academic Concerns, Sept. 2013, https://academiccommons.org/taking-games-in-libraries-seriously/.
“Library of Things – American Libraries Magazine.” American Libraries Magazine , 2016, https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/library-of-things.pdf.