The Groton Public Library, part of the Finger Lakes Library System, runs a simple Minecraft program that has led to a boost in youth attendance and book circulations. Additionally, Minecraft has had a positive influence on the lives of the young patrons who play it, increasing creativity, teaching cooperation, and even helping develop social skills.
Why Consider Minecraft?
Minecraft is especially popular with elementary and middle school-age kids, and is a tremendous draw that can bring this age group into the library on a consistent basis.
Minecraft books are also immensely popular. Since the beginning of 2015, a number of Minecraft books rank near the top in total circulations at Groton. This includes both "how-to" non-fiction books and fan-created fiction.
In September 2015, Groton hosted Sean Fay Wolfe, a rising star in the world of Minecraft literature. More than 50 youth turned out for this author visit, with each family getting a free autographed copy of one of Wolfe's books.
Minecraft players learn to cooperate with one another to survive, have their creativity spurred, and learn basic social skills as they interact with each other and library staff. A number of Groton kids have shown tremendous social growth from playing Minecraft — a benefit that has measureless worth.
You Can Do Minecraft!
Setting up Minecraft in your library is almost as easy as setting up an email account.
The Minecraft computer program can be installed on any PC for free. Go to the Minecraft download page, click the Minecraft.msi link under the Minecraft for Windows section, and follow the brief on-screen instructions.
To actually play the game, users must log into an account purchased through Minecraft. Each account costs $26.95 and has an email account associated with it. The email account is what a player uses to log in and play the game.
In Groton, ten accounts were purchased for public use. The library staff logs patrons into the game when they do not have their own account.
Groton patrons are also provided with a multi-player server. While servers can be set up using a library computer, they can also be purchased from Minecraft or a third party. Price, player capacity, and ease of use are all things to consider.
The majority of the time, Minecraft programming at Groton is open-ended. Patrons can come and go as they wish with the freedom to create and play as they want. More advanced programming ideas includes mini-games, such as Hunger Games style tournaments, and computer coding clubs to modify how Minecraft looks and runs.
Many youth also know a great deal about Minecraft and can be a great resource for starting a program.
Minecraft can also be played on mobile devices, and some gaming consoles such as the XBOX 360.
Give It a Try!
Minecraft can be utilized by libraries to bring in more youth, get kids reading, and teach valuable skills. Even a basic Minecraft program can have a significant impact!
More Minecraft Resources
- Minecraft Hardware Requirements
- Engaging Teens with Minecraft
- Our Public Library Minecraft Community
Have questions? Connect with Drew on Twitter @TheLibraryFox.