Sacramento Public Library

Book clubs leveling up

Gamers Book Club set to livestream author visits

This summer, Sacramento Public Library’s new Gamers Book Club is reimagining the traditional book club by taking its lineup of gaming-related readings and livestreaming it to make book clubs easier to attend.

Readings for the Gamers Book Club will explore the design, creation and culture of video games from the perspective of prominent game creators, experts and journalists. All books are available as ebooks and in print through the Library. 


Book Club schedule

Join the club. Check out the streams on YouTube or Twitch.
➤ Gamers Book Club: What is a game?

Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun - available in book and ebook
June 16, Saturday, 2 – 4 p.m.

This collection of essays by Koster, a legendary game developer who created the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game, explores the “whys” of gaming: why we play, why things are fun and why things stop being fun.

➤ Gamers Book Club: How are games made?

Cara Ellison, author of Embed with Games - available in print
July 21, Saturday, 2 – 4 p.m.

This book presents Ellison’s observations of the day-to-day lives of game developers as she couch-surfs through their homes. Ellison also works as a narrative writer for videogames and has previously worked as a videogame journalist.

➤ Gamers Book Club: How has gamer culture and identity changed?

Dr. Kocurek, author of Coin-operated Americans - available in book and ebook
Dr. Chess, author of Ready Player Two - available in book and ebook
August 18, Saturday, 2 – 4 p.m.

Kocurek and Chess are two media studies professors who examine gamer culture and identity, especially with its relation to women gamers, gender and sexism. Coin-operated Americans follows the rise of the masculine gamer identity in video game arcades and other early games, while Ready Player Two explores how cultural assumptions about women dictate how games get design and marketed towards women.

Gamers Book Club is unique in that it will be the Library’s first livestreamed book club and will be one of few livestreamed book clubs in existence in the nation.

Anyone can watch and participate in reading discussions and Q&A sessions with the authors on the Library’s Twitch channel. By offering the book club through Twitch, the Library is leading efforts to bring in viewers that are ordinarily unable to participate in book clubs or are outside the local community. 

The book club discussion and author Q&A will also be accessible on YouTube to those who are unable to watch the livestream.

“This is especially appealing to a younger audience who is used to watching discussion through YouTube and Twitch,” said Dylan Holmes, the librarian organizing the Gamers Book Club. “We want to reach people that the Library isn’t already reaching.”
Librarians, community members and local teens with varying degrees of familiarity with games are participating in the discussion make the program accessible for general audiences. After discussion of the books, video calls with the author will make up the second hour of the book club, where viewers can ask authors questions about their work, writing and more through the Twitch chat room.

Play is an important part of American culture and of Americans’ daily lives, no matter the age. From solitaire to Angry Birds to console games, every American has enjoyed games in their life either for entertainment or to destress. However, Holmes said that games are often an underappreciated part of culture.

“We have a culture that doesn’t take games seriously and I think it’s because we don’t take play or fun seriously,” Holmes said. “We spend enormous amounts of time talking about our latest TV obsession, but gamers can be a very insular community where people who are really into games spend a lot of time talking and thinking about games, but the culture at-large doesn’t. We want to bridge that gap.”

Gamers Book Club is part of an ongoing effort to engage patrons with the Library’s technological resources, such as its online media and digital literacy programs. Upcoming programs similar to Gamers Book Club are Minecraft Sacramento, in which locals teens recreated local landmarks within Minecraft using primary archival sources, and Board(less) Games, in which Twitch audiences can talk with people who make tabletop games such as Dungeon & Dragons and learn more about the game design process.

Minecraft Sacramento is part of the Libraries Illuminated project at Sacramento Public Library. It is also supported by the Minecraft Sacramento project of the California State Library. Minecraft Sacramento is supported with California Library Services Act funding, which is administered by the California Library Services Board.

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