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Nacogdoches Public Library draws in families with 'Minecraft Mania'

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The Judy B. McDonald Public Library in Nacogdoches will host its second “Minecraft Mania” event Saturday.

Dozens of children and teenagers -- with their families in tow -- are expected to flow into the library to feed a Minecraft video game addiction. Young gamers build their own worlds using virtual Lego-like pieces. The game boasts more than 100 million users. Assistant library director Crystal Hicks is no stranger to this hot property, recently bought by Microsoft for $2.5 billion.

“I have a 12-year-old nephew. So, I’ve been in the Minecraft world for several years now,” Hicks said, about the sandbox-style game that allows gamers to build, explore, collaborate and compete against each other.

The Nacogdoches library aims to become a “makerspace” environment, and Minecraft is furthering that mission, according to Hicks. People use library resources to explore their passions.

“Whatever avenue that they’re interested in, whether it’s programming games or making things on their own or learning about electronics -- just about anything -- they can come to our library to find out more about it,” Hicks said.

Hicks believes the library will be able to reach new patrons through Minecraft gaming events. Kids interact with each other and collaborate shoulder to shoulder, she says, instead of playing an unknown opponent in the virtual space.

“We’ve had kids who jumped right in and started building a house. We’ve had other kids who engaged in combat with each other. They all do it in the same place and get to yell at each other across the room while they’re interacting in the game world,” Hicks said.

Saturday’s Minecraft Mania begins at 2:30 p.m. for 8 to 11-year-olds. Older kids – age 12 to 17 -- play at 3:30 p.m. The two waves helps ensure everyone gets a laptop and it protects the library’s server from being overtaxed, according to Hicks.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.