Calvert Library is “your destination for imagination, information, inspiration”….and Minecraft?! According to Emilia Lee, Public Services Librarian and head of the Minecraft team, “At Calvert Library we offer Minecraft as a learning tool for our customers. All of our Minecraft events are meant to facilitate learning through trial and error and teamwork.” Thanks to a grant provided by the Division of Library Development and Services through the Maryland State Department of Education, all Calvert Library locations are equipped with licenses and servers, and customers can log on to play any time or drop in to one of our special events.

This fall, Calvert Library Fairview Branch will host weekly drop in events on Monday afternoons from 3pm to 4pm.  There will be guided construction and crafting with a different project each week. These events are for beginners and experienced players alike. Bring a friend, or make some new ones. No registration required.

For the uninitiated, Minecraft, a videogame reminiscent of Legos, is full of opportunities to manipulate the virtual world around you to create and survive. While Minecraft is a video game, experts (including Calvert Librarians) agree that there is an immense amount of educational value in it. The game requires you to think outside the box and learn how to function in a different world. Minecraft teaches by direct interaction with the player, and once you have learned the basics, you have the freedom to experiment and try anything. Logging into a world that’s in Survival Mode will quickly teach the player about scarcity and the value of a resource rich environment. If the player can’t adapt to the game world quickly enough, they will die. Thankfully, you can always log back in a try again!

Players at the library can be seen working together to build huge structures, fight off monsters, and farm melons in five different worlds the library provides. These activities not only teach spatial awareness, basic circuitry, physics and geometric design, but also collaboration and communication. The library is a strong believer in this kind of supported hands-on learning, providing a chance for players to attempt new things in a space where they can ask for help.  Most librarians aren’t Minecraft experts but they do know how to find the answers. More often than not, other players are the best resource for questions and problems, and thankfully in the library, other players are rarely in short supply.

In John Paul Gee’s article “Good Video Games and Good Learning,” he talks about the value of a game in terms of interaction. “Games do talk back. In fact, nothing happens until a player acts and makes decisions. Then the game reacts, giving the player feedback and new problems.” Minecraft is an excellent example of learning through interactivity. Each game is a constantly evolving tool that develops as you push it, and encourages experimentation, creativity and cooperation.

Stop in to any of Calvert Library location for free play, and don’t forget to drop in to the Fairview Branch’s guided building projects on Mondays!  For more information call 410-535-0291.