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Posted on: December 13, 2023

Clayton’s Library Is Stepping Up Its Game

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Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library is moving some new pieces into its collection. More than 30 board games are available for cardholders to choose from, check out, and take home.

Their names may be of surprise. Instead of gearing toward mass market options that line the shelves of retailers, the library is offering a unique experience with engaging and interactive finds from the hobby sections of specialty stores. From “Animal Upon Animal Junior” and “Unlock: Timeless Adventures,” to “Catan” and “Dominion,” there are options for all age groups. The Town of Clayton is even on display, thanks to a local version of “Monopoly.” titled “Clayton-opoly,” it features recognizable town blocks and properties with the main objective being to obtain keys to the town.

The board game collection supports the library’s mission to promote learning by addressing soft skills. Cataloging/Technical Services Librarian Gabe Johnson says, “It’s not just… can I read this card? It’s… do I know how to interact with people? Do I know how to do this forward thinking. Can I cooperate with other people without quarterbacking.”

In addition, it breaks down financial barriers that may hinder library cardholders from enjoying the educational and entertaining elements of board games. “Honestly, with modern board games, there are some that are inexpensive,” says Johnson, “but a lot of them get a little pricey, especially what if you try this a time or two and don’t like it. Then what do you do with it? Now, you can come here, try it, and go ‘I didn’t like it,’ but I’m not out 30 or 40 bucks.”

Library cardholders are unleashing their competitive sides. Since its inception in September 2023, the board game collection continues to circulate steadily with more than 150 check-outs. “Stuff stays out,” says Johnson. “I can recommend a game for you, and even though it’s not on the shelf right now, I tell them to go to the front desk and ask them to put a hold on it for you.”

The process of checking out a board game is similar to other library materials. Borrow time is three weeks with the ability to auto-renew twice if there are no existing holds. There is a limit to two board games per library card, and to keep them in good condition, the library is asking cardholders to bypass the book drop and return board games directly to the front desk.

With more and more libraries across the country providing access to different resources, such as board games, Johnson is looking to expand the collection, and there are two ways that library cardholders can help. 

1. Request a board game by filling out a Purchase Suggestion Form 

2. Donate a board game by contacting Johnson at gjohnson@townofclayton.org.

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Staff Spotlight: Gabe Johnson, Cataloging/Technical Services Librarian

Get to know one of the town’s librarians a little better. Johnson is sharing his responses after playing a game of choice with us, known as “This or That.”

· Board Games or Video Games

· Single Player or Multiple Players

· Classic or Modern (Board Games)

· Floor or Table (Playing Surfaces)

· Cards or Dice

Learn more about Johnson and his work with Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library’s board game collection during a recent article with the American Library Association (ALA).

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