By Sharon Wagenaar

It’s hard to believe that the Minecraft Club at the Owen Sound & North Grey Public Library has only

been running for a year and a half as it feels like it’s always been a part of our programming. When we

first started investigating running a club we looked at many things but the two main issues were access

to computers and finding a suitable space.

The four public computers situated in the middle of the Youth Services department were available for

us to use but we felt we needed more! I originally had planned on using my own laptop but quickly

realized that my five year old laptop graphics card couldn’t handle the game! We also considered

asking kids to bring their own laptops but we recognized this would only work for the small minority that

had access to computers. So to allow more kids to play we arranged to borrow six laptops from the

Adult Learning Centre (ALC) which is adjacent to the library. Each week I retrieve the laptops from the

ALC; move a table and six chairs beside the desktops; set up the laptops, plug them into the existing hub

and run the updates. This takes approximately an hour and then dismantling takes about 15 minutes as

I usually have a helper.

The other issue was finding a space to play. One option was the boardroom on the main level of the

library; however, would have taken the program away from the Youth Services department and we

wanted it to be in our space so that others could watch, ask questions and get involved with the club.

We can be a fairly raucous group but to date there have not been any direct complaints about the noise

that the club makes in the open space we use. When I see a tutor setting up for a lesson I remind them

about the club and it usually depends on the focus of their student whether they stay or move to

another part of the library. In one of the first sessions a parent of a club member was a little concerned

with all the talk of “killing” and “dying” (in PVP) because of the proximity of younger children to where

we set-up (there is a play area for pre-schoolers 20ft away). I spoke to the group about reducing the

volume and the violence in their play and that seemed to help the situation. This has now become one

of the things we discuss in our first meeting of each new club. Most people are genuinely interested in

what we are doing and excited to see so much activity in our library. If there is an available computer I

always invite any spectators to join us even if it’s only for 10 minutes. The only time I had an issue was

with a very young patron who wanted to play but the computers were all busy. He had a bit of a


Starting up our club with borrowed laptops was a great solution and helped us launch our Minecraft

program. It does have limitations however so we are hoping that at some point in the near future we

will have unlimited access to a collection of laptops that the library owns. Secondly, the Minecraft Club

is now firmly established as one of the key attractions for our young patrons because of the location and

has lead to more and more children being excited to come to the library.


OwenSoundLibrary1 This is the library space with just the four computers and a book sale cart.

OwenSoundLibrary2 Transformed to Minecraft Club with tables, chairs, and six more computers.