Chess in libraries

Defining a library

A library is a physical or a virtual place which contains a collection of information resources in a variety of formats such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, films, musical recordings, videos, news papers, etc. A library also provides access to online resources. A library is a place where its members can find answers for problem solving.

Many libraries have a variety of chess information resources. The gathering of chess collections can possibly be traced back to circa 1830 (Europe) and circa 1840 (America).  Possibly the largest public chess library in the world is the John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at Cleveland Public Library (USA) with more than 32000 chess books!

The vision of a library

The vision of a library is:

  • to collect, preserve and provide information resources.

The mission of a library

The mission of a library is:

  • to inform, educate, empower, enrich and inspire a community!
  • to stimulate creativity, curiosity and innovation.
  • to facilitate lifelong learning in a community so that its members can contribute to society.

First steps learning chess

A library is an ideal place for a player to take his or her first steps to learn chess:

  • a place where players of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can come together to play friendly, informal chess.
  • a place where players can improve their chess for free!
  • a place where younger children can learn from the older or more experienced [adult] players.

Chess in libraries

At present (2017) quite a few libraries in the Cape Town region in South Africa have started chess in their respective communities with the assistance of much-needed volunteers! Small informal tournaments have also been organised amongst the chess playing libraries, which is an excellent way to give publicity to chess in libraries and to get communities involve in the “Noble sport of Kings”! This can help to keep children from the streets and away from drugs and crime!

Chess in libraries can be promoted and strengthened in various ways:

  • Chess can form part of specific library promotion days or games days.
  • Chess can form part of gaming programs and events (start a game hub to promote games and play!).
  • Libraries can organise small [sponsored] inter-library tournaments.
  • Volunteer organisations (such as schools chess) can present free chess workshops.
  • Volunteer individuals can present free coaching.
  • Organisations can donate chess equipment.

The outcomes of chess in libraries

Chess in libraries have numerous outcomes:

  • Improving, uplifting, educating and empowering communities.
  • Developing valuable life skills of young and old.
  • Social development of children.
  • Giving children a starting place to realise their full human potential.
  • Fighting and preventing crime in the communities.

  • A chess set in every classroom in every school in every community – a child who can’t pay must be able to play!
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