HHH: Video Games & Esports

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Hello! Henry here. I’m happy to highlight a new high-tech hot topic. It’s historically been a hobby, but now it’s headlong become a hardcore habit, heavily hitting the right buttons on people’s hearts. Today I’m talking about…

Video Games & Esports


Two weeks ago, Google announced it was getting into the gaming business with its own platform called Stadia to come out this year:

Logo for Google Stadia

A week later, Apple announced it was launching its own gaming platform this year called Apple Arcade (along with other new services such as a credit card and streaming TV channel).

Logo for Apple Arcade

What’s so special about these two tech giants’ gaming platforms? Typically video games require special hardware called consoles, but Google and Apple are each promising their platforms will remove the need for players to buy separate consoles and will instead put games on what people already own – their phones, tablets, laptops, computers, and TVs.

Google Stadia will actually run through the Google Chrome browser, which will stream the games live over your broadband. It will be integrated both with Google’s voice assistant so you can get help from the AI during challenging parts of the game you’re playing, and with YouTube (owned by Google) so you can easily share out a live stream of your gameplay.

Meanwhile, Apple Arcade will be an app that will run on Apple devices. It will be like a Netflix of games – an all-you-can-play service via a single subscription.

Details are still slim about both platforms, especially Google’s – but we do know Stadia will require an Internet connection, which means no playing offline. As for what internet speeds you’ll need to support Stadia, Google recommends 25 megabits per second – the same speed that Netflix has suggested to watch their streaming content. Most of the libraries in Texas don’t even reach this 25 Mbps download requirement for all patrons sharing their network WiFi bandwidth.

So why should I care?

What impact will two of the biggest industry names in the world entering the gaming market have on our communities and our libraries? What does gaming have to do with libraries anyway?

A lot actually. Both games and libraries are more connected than you might think. As ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries points out:

  • Both promote interest-driven learning and self-directed discovery.
  • Both help improve social skills. ALA writes, “Equally important, libraries as public gathering spaces can capitalize on the benefits of co-play, helping to improve players’ social skills by encouraging play together, in small groups, or large classes. The social setting of the library may also encourage users to be reflective in their play, building awareness, asking questions, and processing what is being learned through play.”
  • Both support digital literacy. Games help and encourage people to learn how systems (like interfaces and computers) work. These are crucial, next generation job skills, and libraries being in the business of assisting their communities with workforce development are wise to take notice.

For these reasons and many others, libraries – even here in Texas – have recently started offering esports programming.


The Future Today Institute (FTI) publishes an annual report on emerging technology trends, and for the first time in 2019, they’ve included esports – competitive digital gaming with all the trappings of traditional sports. They write that, “advancements in both gaming technology and streaming capabilities have led to an astronomical rise in its popularity and perceived legitimacy in recent years.” And they predict it’s primed to continue as a major cultural phenomenon. According to a market report by Newzoo, global esports revenues have reached $906 million in 2018, a year-on-year growth of +38%. The ridiculously popular game Fortnite is a big reason for this. Viewership of esports tournaments may soon rival those for the NFL. FTI points out esports results in a more engaged audience because it’s so accessible – the skills needed to compete are more attainable than classic athletic sports, “closing the gulf between fans and competitors.

Screenshot from Simpsons episode featuring esports

What does the rise of esports mean for libraries?

I’m glad you asked! There’s a lot to explore here.

I’ve actually asked someone who successfully runs an esports program for their public library to conduct a free webinar for us on the topic of esports and libraries next month on April 25th . Hope you’ll join me! Here are the details and the link to register below:

Title: Get in the Game: Esports and Libraries

When: Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT

Have you heard of esports but want to learn more? Ever wonder if esports could be featured in libraries? Interested in reaching and engaging more patrons through gaming and esports? Are you intrigued by a program offering which attracts a broad cross section of patrons of different ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic standing? Let’s take an in-depth look at esports and its community and discuss ways to build more games-related programming in libraries. Join our webinar with Tristan Wheeler (Outreach and Programming Services, Cleveland Public Library in Ohio) for an introduction to the Cleveland Public Library GAMING & ESPORTS event series. Discover how the world of libraries meets all things gaming and learn why a program like this is important to his library and could be for yours!

CE Credit: 1.5 hours

Register now for this free webinar from TSLAC!

Let’s play with the idea! See you April 25.

Literacy Behind Bars: Inside the world of Texas prison librarians

Windham School District logo

Last week’s webinar outlined success stories and possibilities for collaborating with public libraries

Last week a team of librarians and administrators from the Windham School District (WSD) presented a webinar on how their libraries inside the Texas prison system are transforming lives through literacy.

In one particular example, a patron in her 70s with a second grade reading level eventually worked her way up to reading on her own. When she was approved for parole, she had tears in her eyes as she talked about the possibility of reading to her grandchildren for the first time.

Learn more about Windham School District libraries by watching the archived webinar.

How can your library support the Windham School District patrons? Here are some suggestions from WSD staff:

  • Consider working with WSD to issue their patrons a library card prior to their release. WSD staff shared that very few of their patrons have any experience with public libraries.
  • Promote library services to WSD patrons – produce a flier to include with library card applications, or create a video like this one from the Hennepin County Library.
  • Include your local unit in author visits or other programming.
  • Develop a family reading program that includes WSD patrons.
  • Offer storytime during unit visiting hours.
  • Include halfway houses in library outreach and programming.
  • Collect materials relevant to WSD patron needs.

Have questions about how your library might partner with a unit of the Windham School District? Contact Rebecca Gillen, Library Services Supervisor, at rebecca.gillen@wsdtx.org

Apply NOW for E-rate funding with help from FREE consultants

It’s E-rate Season!

 That means it’s time for accredited public libraries to apply for big discounts on their broadband services! Libraries are eligible to receive up to 90% on their monthly Internet access costs, plus equipment and cabling, through E-rate, the federal discount program which puts billions of dollars aside each year for schools and libraries.

The Filing Window to submit the second form, the Form 471, starts TODAY (January 16) and will close Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 10:59 PM Central. This means that the first form, the Form 470, should be submitted asap in order to have time for the required 28 days of competitive bidding. The deadline for the Form 470 is February 27.

E-rate funding becomes essential in enabling libraries to afford attaining basic national standards of broadband for their communities and to continue providing patrons efficient access to distance learning, e-government information, and employment opportunities.

Take advantage of FREE consultants this year!

This year, as part of TSLAC’s Libraries Connecting Texas project, accredited public libraries in Texas can use the free expertise of E-rate Central who will help them file the forms correctly and on time. 

NOTE: Last chance to get free, E-rate consultant help is Friday, February 1!

For more information about E-rate and getting started with the free help with LCT, please see TSLAC’s E-rate page or contact TSLAC’s E-rate Coordinator, Henry Stokes, at 512-463-6624, hstokes@tsl.texas.gov.

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Reports from the Field: The Future of Rural Symposium

This past November the Texas Tribune held a symposium focused on issues facing rural Texas called The Future of Rural Symposium. State representatives, mayors, superintendents, and leaders from non-profit organizations and corporations came together to discuss issues affecting the lives of rural Texans. While the symposium was physically held at Texas A&M University, the event was also live-streamed for free to ensure those living in rural Texas could participate. The Tribune encouraged people to hold Watch Parties as a way of creating community conversation around the issues discussed.

Working alongside organizers from the Texas Tribune and Educate Texas, TSLAC put out a call to public libraries across the State to host Watch Parties and a number of you answered the call!  Here are a few of the reflections from those of you that hosted watch parties:

Maggie Goodman, Johnson City Library

Turns out the Future of Rural Texas was on that cold, windy day, so we had eight people here, but we were really glad to have had the opportunity for the live event. We started at 11:15 and finished at 3:15, and watched 5 discussions.  We had really good conversations in between!

A couple of take-always were that all rural communities have the same problems, but the solutions are different for each one.  Also, what is good for larger cities is not always good for rural towns. Some panels were better than others. Our community wants the library to be a leader in community relations, listening to different groups to find solutions.

Many people afterward thanked us for having the symposium even if they weren’t here.  We have the website with the archived discussions on our website. We would really like to do this again.  Thanks for the opportunity.

Dianne Connery, Pottsboro Area Library

I’m glad you said no size audience was too small because ours was small!  Our audience included our board president, the city secretary (who is like deputy city manager), and me.

I sent individual invitations to city council members, mayor, city manager, our county commissioner, Texoma Council of Governments, and state representative. Texoma Council of Governments sent it out to one of their contact lists of people/organizations who might be interested. There was an article promoting it in the local newspaper, our website and social media.

Despite the turnout, it benefited the library in several ways.  First, the promotion/invitations sent the signal to government officials that the library is a leader in community planning.  It’s just another way to emphasize our role as a change maker.

The most direct benefit was that it was an opportunity to talk to the city secretary about what the future of Pottsboro (and the library) looks like.  I’ve learned how important relationship building is to the survival of the library, and this was a bonding opportunity to be closer to city decision makers.  Because there were only 3 of us, it became an informal chat session about problems and solutions, and how the library fits into that.

How does the Pottsboro Library fit into that?  During the Infrastructure session, internet connectivity was mentioned.  That is a challenge that our library has created solutions for, and we can do much more.  In the coming year, we will take the lead in organizing community involvement to find solutions that reach more people.  Stay tuned!

Andrea McAdams, Yoakum County Library Plains

It was a small gathering; generally, it was only the staff ducking in, but also the patrons needing the free restroom may have caught some glimpses!

I enjoyed the agenda being given ahead of time so I could target groups with an email of what time that talk of interest would be. We focused in on a lot of groups in our community, but none of them actually made it a point to come in and watch. It was a loss to them, but at least we tried!

From the hosting perspective, it would have been easier to have the stream continually instead of having to re-connect every session. Sometimes we forgot to go in at the appointed time to reload the page.

Events like this would be very helpful for rural communities such as ours. We are 15 minutes from the next state, but that symposium was hours of travel saved just by having it available to our community. I believe libraries hosting programs like this would aid smaller communities in feeling aware of what is going on around the state and giving us a pulse of how other towns work. (I appreciated the mayor of Marfa being on! That is a town similar in size to Plains, and I felt that we were kindred in many ways.)

Thank you for this effort and for getting the word out to communities. To be able to participate in an event like this free of charge gives us opportunities to partner all around Texas!

You can still view the archived panels and keynotes here and find supporting materials on how to hold your own Watch Party and Community Conversation here. (Scroll down past the article).

What issues facing rural Texas do you think are most pressing? Tell us in the comments!

Voting and Election Information in Libraries

With the 2018 elections quickly approaching, libraries may be receiving questions from patrons about how to research voting logistics and candidates.

One resource libraries may want to refer patrons to is information put out by The League of Women Voters of Texas, a nonpartisan organization that has been around since 1919. The League of Women Voters of Texas provides both print and online voting information, including hard copies of the nonpartisan Voters Guide to many libraries across Texas. These libraries are selected based on population as well as the locations of Local Leagues throughout Texas.

If your library does not receive the print version of the Voters Guide, or if you would like an additional online resource, The League of Women Voters of Texas also provides a PDF Voters Guide. The guide, offered in both English and Spanish, provides information on candidates for the state representative level and above, as well as for local races where a Local League exists.

In addition to the PDF Voters Guide, The League of Women Voters of Texas maintains www.VOTE411.org. VOTE411 provides voters with personalized ballot information based on the provided address.  Libraries may want to check out the nonpartisan voter education materials available on the site, including social media graphics, YouTube videos and embedded widgets.

Questions about the Voter Guide or about the League of Women Voters of Texas? Email lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org!

Texas Book Festival Information for Librarians!

The Texas Book Festival is happening at the Texas Capitol Oct. 27-28! This is an annual event that attracts people of from all over the country and is of natural interest to librarians.

Because of the natural link between libraries and the Texas Book Festival, we wanted to put together some information to help you navigate the event.

Free Shuttles at Libraries

Capital Metro and the Austin Public Library are teaming up to provide free shuttles to the event on Saturday, Oct. 27. Go to the front desk of any of the following branch libraries between noon and 5 p.m. to receive a free Capital Metro Day Pass and Travel Guide:

  • Recycled Reads | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803
  • Pleasant Hill | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801
  • Little Walnut Creek | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801
  • Ruiz | 1600 Grove Boulevard | Route 20
  • Carver | 1161 Angelina Street | Routes 2, 6
  • Southeast | 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd | Route 7

Panel of Interest

The full schedule for the Texas Book Festival can be found at https://www.texasbookfestival.org/schedule/.

One panel that may be of particular interest is the following panel from Susan Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992.

A Love Letter to Libraries with Susan Orlean (Friends Pass Session)

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 from 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

Where: Capitol Auditorium E1.004 (1100 Congress Avenue)

The full description: This is a Friends Pass session! Libraries are one of society’s most valuable resources. Susan Orlean, bestselling author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin, sits down with bestselling author and former librarian, Elizabeth McCracken, for a discussion of Orleans’s latest, The Library Book, her life-long love of books and the fascinating history of libraries in this special conversation about the crucial role that libraries play in our lives. Moderated by Elizabeth McCracken

Want more information?

Information on attending the festival can be found at https://www.texasbookfestival.org/attend_festival/.

You can also email the festival organizers at bookfest@texasbookfestival.org for more information.

Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards: Application Deadline December 15, 2018

We are passing on the following information from the J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards Committee. If you have questions, please contact Gretchen McCord at gretchen@digitalinfolaw.com. Thank you!

The J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards Committee is accepting applications for 2019 awards through December 15, 2018.

When famed Texas author and folklorist J. Frank Dobie passed away in 1964, he left the majority of his estate to create the J. Frank Dobie Library Trust for the purpose of assisting small Texas libraries in purchasing books. Awards are selected annually by a committee and presented at the opening luncheon of the Texas Library Association annual conference (attendance is not required).

Award Criteria

Mr. Dobie’s will specifies that the degree of support a library receives from its community be taken into consideration by the selection committee. Therefore, awards are made on the basis of not only need, but also the extent to which community governments, library boards, friend’s organizations, and individuals have promoted and supported the library, in comparison with their potential to do so. The selection committee also takes into consideration the library’s support of the community and the library’s need of additional book resources.

Application is open to public libraries in Texas who (1) serve a population of 20,000 or less (per the library’s annual TSLAC report); (2) are legally established; and (3) are open for service at 1 least twenty hours per week.

*A legally established public library is one established as a department of a city or county government by charter, resolution, or ordinance: or by contract as provided for in the Interlocal Cooperation Act, Texas Civil Statutes, Article 4413 (32c): or as a nonprofit corporation chartered by the Office of the Secretary of State for the purposes of providing free public services, and having a current contract with a city, county, or school district to provide free public library services for the city, county, or school district.

Number and Amount of Awards
The total amount available for awards each year is determined by the net income of the trust. The selection committee determines each year both the number and the amount of awards. In 2018, a total of $46,000 was distributed to five libraries.

Expenditure of Awards
Awarded funds must be used solely for the purchase of books in any format, including ebooks and audiobooks. The committee intends that the funds be spent within one calendar year of receipt.

Deadline and Timeline


The committee expects to notify all applicants of its decisions by the end of February 2019.

Awards will be presented at the Opening Luncheon of the Texas Library Association annual conference on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. We love for recipients to attend so that they can be publicly recognized by their peers, but we understand that many cannot. In those cases, checks will be mailed following the conference.


The selection committee will pull the most recent TSLAC annual report of each applicant library and consider information from the report that it deems relevant, including information about collections, services and programs, funding, and revenue and expenditures.

To apply, submit the information described below by email to: Gretchen McCord, gretchen@digitalinfolaw.com

Note: If you do not receive confirmation that your application was received within three business days of sending, please contact Gretchen at the email above or 512.470.8932.

Information to be Included in Application 

  • Cover sheet containing:
    • Name of Library
    • Contact person
    • City and county
    • Mailing address
    • Email address(es)
    • Telephone number
  • Brief history of the library
  • Brief description of the library’s service area and communities served
  • Description of support the library receives from the community
    • Provide an account of local efforts in support of the library over the most recent one or more years. Statistics provide some evidence of continuing local support of the library, but limited insight into the persistency and intensity of effort that went into their making. Tell how local government, businesses, and citizen groups have contributed to the betterment of the library. Tell of efforts the library staff, board, and friends have made toward the promotion and improvement of library services. Tell your story!
  • Explanation of how the library meets the needs of different segments of the community
    • For example: programming, bookmobile service, services to nursing homes or day care centers
  • Description of any engagement in library cooperation, such as cooperation between the public and school libraries
  • Description of how the library uses volunteers ( i.e. , what your volunteers do)
  • If your library has received one or more Dobie awards in the past, briefly describe how the library and the community benefited from the award.
  • The kinds of books the library proposes to buy and the reasons for such purchases. There are no restrictions on the kinds of books that may be bought; however, regardless of type, books purchased should be of good quality and lasting value.
  • The name and qualifications of the library staff member who would be responsible for book selection and/or the name and qualifications of a consultant outside the library who would be willing to advise the library in its book purchases.

Tips for Your Application

Do not send any statistics other than those specifically requested above; the committee will obtain all other statistics of interest from your library’s TSLAC annual report.

If any of the above information is not included in your application packet, the committee may choose to not consider your library for an an award.

Texas Public Libraries Updated Statistics and Tools Available!

Does the idea of making a set of slides with graphs and charts keep you awake at night? Especially if those presentations hold the key to keeping your library running efficiently?

We have some tools that will help!

Direct your browser to the Texas Public Library Statistics page, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/pls/index.html.  We have compiled information from the Texas Public Libraries Annual Reports, from reporting years 1996 through 2017.

Library Comparison

Library Comparison

You can compare your library to up to four others using the Individual Library Statistics and Comparison Charts.

Summaries and totals for all the libraries in the state can be found in the Texas Public Library Statewide Statistics.  The format has been revised and condensed this year.

Using the Five-Year Trend Charts, trends for a variety of measures since 2012 can be viewed and used by selecting the library’s city and then simply downloading an Excel chart for the subject you wish to present.

There are graphics for operating expenditures, operating revenue, library use, collection information, and library program trends.

One library was able to demonstrate that, with a relatively flat budget for the last five years, programs and program attendance increased. They could persuasively argue that, with the addition of a few more dollars, even greater gains in library use could be made.

Programs and Program Attendance

Programs and Program Attendance

Use this information to display your local statistics or see how you measure up statewide.  To view the national picture, take a look at the information available through IMLS to view national data (https://www.imls.gov/research-evaluation/data-collection/public-libraries-survey).  Statistics from 2016 were released this summer.

If you need any assistance or additional information, contact Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood (vgreenwood@tsl.texas.gov) or LSTA/Accreditation Program Coordinator Stacey Malek (smalek@tsl.texas.gov).  You can also call us, toll-free in Texas:  800-252-9386.

A Place to Just Play: A New, Vital Role for Public Libraries, Part 2

Panoramic shot of the Free Play Room

Free Play Room at Laura’s Library (Credit: Westbank Library)

Yesterday I explained how I discovered the innovative free play programming at my local public library in the Austin area. I reached out to the staff responsible at the Westbank Community Library (Leah Tatgenhorst, Mary Jo Finch, and Autumn Solomon) with some questions I had. Their responses are below.

And if you’d like to learn more about the topic, the staff there are going to host a professional development program on Friday, October 12 in Austin for librarians and educators. More on that below the interview, or jump straight to the workshop details!

What led you to create free play programming? 

The creation of Free Play was serendipitous. Antonio Beuhler, who founded a self-directed education center here in Austin (Abrome), is a frequent educational speaker at the library and leads an education book club for our community. He introduced us to renowned psychologist Dr. Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn.

Westbank Staff with Peter Gray and Antonio Buehler

Westbank Staff with Peter Gray and Antonio Buehler (Credit: Westbank Library)

In his book and his Psychology Today blog, Dr. Gray argues for the importance of play to help children develop decision-making and negotiation skills, become better problem solvers, develop empathy for others, learn how to take and mitigate risks, and of course, have fun. Antonio helped us conceive the program – 3 hours where children engage in mixed-age play and explore materials with little adult interaction.

Over time, children who come to Free Play grow comfortable with their autonomy and develop ownership of the library as a place for them. Their parents support each other in the sometimes difficult process of letting go.


Why do you think it’s a good fit for your library?

Self-education is at the heart of the public library mission. Beyond that, in conversations with us, our community has expressed a desire for greater community connection, an interest in their children being safe to play in the community, and concerns about school stress and the resulting stresses on busy families. We were eager to create programming with a drop-in time frame to accommodate schedules and offer a chance to connect with neighbors in a relaxing environment with minimal rules. This is Free Play: free choice, free time, stress free, no expectations, no grades, no instruction. It arises spontaneously and when it has run its course, it fades. Its process is discovery, and its only standard of measurement is how much fun it is.

We encourage visitors to:

  • create their own games
  • develop relationships with people of all ages
  • pursue their own interests
  • read just for fun
  • enjoy unstructured time in a non-homework space


Do you have a success story to share? Have you seen it make an impact?

Since we started the program we have had a weekly attendance ranging from 50-100. The numbers have been fantastic, but the real success lies in the connections made. Parents have connected with each other sharing coffee, stories, information and support. Kids are connecting by creating games, sharing materials, and resolving their own disputes. The community is connecting with staff and volunteers by letting us know how much they appreciate a neighborhood place that welcomes joyful noise.

Any challenges you faced, or lessons learned? Anything you’d do differently? Would you do this again?

The opportunity to begin Free Play arose quickly so we focused on preparing programs staff, but in hindsight would have focused on preparing all staff for this shift in programming. It can be challenging sitting back and waiting to intervene when you see children testing the boundaries of a non-traditional library environment. This is something library school did not prepare us for!

It took us a few weeks to determine the layout of the space, which includes a fenced backyard, and to encourage parents to step back and let kids explore freely. We place staff near the entrance to greet families and to make sure no one runs out the front door into the parking lot, but the main goal is to model a hands-off approach while we engage in free play and conversation as adults. We have band aids and ice packs at the ready, but have not had to use them often.

At the outset we envisioned Free Play going from Spring-Summer, but because of the success we have made it a regular program. We are building on the idea by incorporating aspects of Free Play into programming across the board. So short answer, yes we would absolutely do this again. We also are eager to help other librarians embrace Free Play. We will be offering a professional development opportunity for all library staff and educators on Friday, October 12th from 9am-noon at Laura’s Library.

Children playing constructively

Constructive play (Credit: Westbank Library)


Did you find it was more or less successful with different age groups?

Our biggest success was with younger kids and their parents, but we are starting to see grandparents and older siblings attend. We are still exploring ways to engage older kids and teens. We had a teen volunteer over the summer and that was a tremendous help. We observed that teens navigate relationships with kids and adults in unique ways, leading to social and emotional learning on all parts. We intend to develop this aspect further.


Did you have to educate people to explain the purpose/benefits?

Staff members chat with parents about the importance of self-directed play as a means to learn. We also have a bookmark we hand out which highlights the purpose of Free Play. Parents who stay during Free Play enjoy the camaraderie of other parents and support each other in letting go of their kids for a bit, thereby reducing parental anxieties.

We have also been fortunate that Antonio agreed to facilitate when we started the program to help answer education questions that caretakers inevitably had and to reassure them it’s okay to play! We consciously have made minimal rules to allow children freedom to work out issues on their own without adult intervention. Our simple rules are stay safe, respect others, respect the space, have fun!

Free Play Clean Up

Free Play Clean Up (Credit: Westbank Library)


I want to thank the staff at Westbank Community Library for answering my questions and sharing their photos and videos!

If you can make it, be sure to attend their October 12 workshop. Here’s more information about it:

Upcoming Workshop:

Free Play: Preparing Libraries and Communities for an Uncertain Future

Where: Westbank Library, Laura Bush Community Branch

When: October 12th 9am-noon

Who: Speakers include Mary Jo Finch, Director, Leah Tatgenhorst, Programs Manager, Autumn Solomon, Associate Director, Antonio Buehler, education partner. All librarians and educators are welcome to attend! This talk will be of particular interest to program, children & teen librarians, and management.

Play is how children learn to take control of their lives.

-Dr. Peter Gray. Free to Learn

Self-education is at the heart of library missions. Westbank Libraries worked with Dr. Gray to better understand how play helps children develop decision-making and negotiation skills, become better problem solvers, develop empathy for others, and learn how to take and mitigate risks.

The self-directed learning movement, which has free play at its core, is an engaging and simple way to bring your community together. Play is an essential part of childhood, and libraries are a natural partner to offer programs that support discovery through open-ended, child-directed play. Westbank Libraries created Free Play, a 3-hour weekly program that welcomes joyful noise and encourages parents to sit back while their kids explore and discover together.

Topics of this presentation will include: becoming antifragile, the importance of play and child-directed learning, logistics of free play and open ended programming and how to adapt it to your library. A light breakfast will be served, doors open at 8:30am. Come and get your questions answered, and engage in some free play of your own!

To register, please email programs@westbanklibrary.com with your name, library and how many will attend. Registration is not mandatory, but helpful for planning.

Additional resources: