Ask An Agent: Advice on Running Game Night?

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Question:   I’m currently running a game night for teens, but attendance is low and it can be difficult to manage behavior. Any suggestions about what kind of games we should include? Behavior management tips (sometimes the younger kids don’t want to share the controller)? Currently, we are playing Wii games such as Mario Kart and Wii sports. I have some card games as well but the teens that come are more interested in the video games. What strategies can we use to get the word out and boost attendance? Is there a way we should structure the program to make it more appealing?

Liz (Anderson Public Library) says:

We recently got Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes for our teen game nights, and the teens love it! This is a cooperative game, and it has fostered teamwork among teens who didn’t know each other before. Video games are popular at our teen game nights, too, and sometimes the teens do need a gentle reminder to share the controller/system. For the most part they’re good about rotating players, and they’ll listen when staff ask them to let someone new play the next round. When we have requests for multiple games on the same system, I’ll set a time limit and switch games half-way through the program. Again, the teens here are pretty good about following those rules, especially when I give them a five-minute warning before we switch.

As far as boosting attendance goes, word of mouth has worked best for us. I talk up game nights and other teen programs on school visits, and many bring their friends to our bi-weekly game nights. We also have signs around the library and near our board game collection advertising teen game nights every first and third Wednesday. (Having a consistent day/time helps boost attendance, too.) Good luck with your game nights!


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