How to Play in the Library

The idea of Play in libraries isn’t a new concept and it was talked about quite a bit in my MLIS program so long ago, but it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  There are a few librarians that I can think of that are doing playful things in their library like Justin Hoenke and Kirby McCurtis. But it became even more apparent as a legitimate concept after the visit to the ImaginOn library on the Great Library Roadshow.  I just wish I was in the design phase of a library remodel or construction project since I would love to incorporate these concepts into the facility itself.  Since I’m not in the position to bring embedded play in my library, here is my list of resources for just playing in the library.
This is a blog all about fun.  It could be useful for future programs and the development of programs.  The blogger (Bernie) writes about the ways the people play around the world and about many different games and activities with videos, pictures, and descriptions.  He also talks about the ways that people use play to solve social problems like littering or hack their environments with play to make them better.
This one takes playing to a very academic level and legitimizes it as a valid social discipline. From the description “Play is the vigorous force that drives children to explore the world around them. It is an instinctive curiosity that motivates them to test their surroundings for their usefulness.”  How is that perfect for libraries?
If you would like to take the library to the streets for some fun and playful activities, this blog is a great resource with many example of street play, rules, concepts, etc…  “The variety of ways we’ve found to amuse ourselves in the streets is amazing. At the drop of a hat, we invent games and through sheer determination make them indispensible and legendary. Using whatever is at hand–bottlecaps, a stick, or the ubiquitous spaldeen–city kids though the ages create games that are the envy of any sportsman or marketeer.”
This is a serious resource for camp councilors with games, crafts, etc.. but it could be pretty awesome for librarians too.  I was thinking about the concept of a library camp.  I mean, why not?  A lot of the same things are done at both the library and at camp.  We tell stories, sing songs, play games and make crafts just like they do.  What if a library made a summer camp centered around literacy and learning?  Oh wait… We already do that at my library!

If you want to see some of this in action you can check out this fantastic library in the Charlotte Mecklinburg library system that partnered with a Theatre Company to create a dual space. “From Page to Stage.”  I had the opportunity to explore this concept in person on the Great Library Roadshow and you can see one of the videos on my youtube channel.