Skip to Main Content

International Games Day @ SJSU

SJSU is hosting International Games Day! This guide gives you information about the virtual event, links to fun free games, and other gaming resources!

KLEVR Lab | Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library

 SJSU's King Library's KLEVR Lab has Virtual Reality games and software.

Quick History

Libraries have a long history of supporting games. In fact, gaming has been a part of library services since the 1800s when the Mechanics’ Institute Library in San Francisco, first hosted chess clubs. Over the years, libraries hosted bridge, scrabble, and board game clubs. Due to the popularity of hosting these clubs, libraries started to purchase board games for their library collections. In the 1980s, some libraries even collected Atari games. Public libraries would go on to incorporate games into summer reading programs, storytime and to help patrons get comfortable with using computers. By 2009, 77% of public libraries supported games and gaming in their collection and programs  (Hoenke, 2019; Nicholson, 2009, 2013).

 In 2008, National Game Day was started as a free event to set the world’s record for the number of people playing the same game at the same time in libraries worldwide. National Games Day eventually became International Games Week (IGW) in 2017, to raise awareness and support gaming in libraries. Every year, The Games and Gaming Round Table interest group of the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries around the world host this event. (

Why Gaming In Libraries?

Research shows that games can facilitate learning and skills regardless of educational or recreational focus (Gee, 2009). Some skills that can be gained from gaming are digital literacy, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and critical thinking (Galarneau & Zibit, 2011). This makes sense as games challenge us to work together, use strategies, and solve puzzles.

Due to the educational, literacy, and communal benefits, librarians and libraries have embraced gaming through their services and collections. Games also provide fun ways for library staff to connect games with other resources in the library and teach students (Nicholson, 2010). In fact, some librarians use games to teach information literacy (IL). IL is about learning the discovery, selection, and use of reliable information resources (Nicholson, 2010). Likewise, video games, board games, and tabletop role-playing games (RPG)s also encompass reading, interpreting written rules and text, and finding information to play the game (Nicholson, 2010). For more information about how libraries have creatively used games and gaming to engage patrons, please see the following list of articles.

Articles about Gaming and Libraries

Virtual / Augmented Reality

Mixed Reality Lab at Mississippi State University Libraries (Marshall, DuBose & Archer, 2019)

Mississippi State University Libraries recently added a virtual/augmented reality lab as part of its library program.


Referencing the Imaginary: An Analysis of Library Collection of Role-Playing Game Materials (Schneider & Hutchison, 2015)

This article discusses the role of role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragon in library collections. 

Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms Build Better Researchers (Edson, 2019)

The University of Wisconsin - Parkside Library designed a research escape room game where patrons work together to solves clues and unlock a final prize.

Hacking the Research Library: Wikipedia, Trump, and Information Literacy in the Escape Room at Fresno State (Pun, 2017)

Fresno State taught information literacy via an escape room where students must fact check Trump's tweets and analyze fake news against online databases in order to escape. 

Courting Apocalypse: Creating a Zombie-Themed Evidence-Based Medicine Game (Blevins, 2017)

Two librarians from the University of Iowa built a "choose your own' adventure zombie game to help students learn evidence-based medicine skills. 


An Introduction to Gamification: Adding Game Elements for Engagement (Brigham, 2015)

Provides an overview of the benefits and concerns about using gamification to teach millennials and generation Y.