How do I…Start a Minecraft program?

Today’s post was written by guest author Stephen Tafoya, Technology Trainer at Garfield County Library District.

I think the running joke now is, if you haven’t heard of Minecraft by now, you’ve been living under a block. But if you still don’t know what Minecraft is, or maybe you know about the game but can’t quite describe it to others, this is how I convey Minecraft to people who are new to the videogame:

Minecraft is LEGO meets Survivor

I’m not going to go any further with my personal take on Minecraft (what I would say has already been said before). There are tons of well-written articles on the subject, and below is my curated list of pieces on various aspects of the game that I recommend to parents and librarians who are new to Minecraft. I do want to point out that many of these articles are dated between 2013 – 2015; however they are still relevant in their content.

Current news on Minecraft tends to revolve around Minecraft updates, more so with the recent purchase of Minecraft by Microsoft. I recommend following the official Minecraft blog to stay current with the direction Minecraft is going.

The last things I want to say to anyone considering starting a Minecraft program in your library:

  • Do your research and reach out to libraries who already implement Minecraft in the library.
  • Make sure you have someone with a basic understanding of computers and networks (or someone who has time to learn and support the game and its server).
  • Make sure you have buy-in from your colleagues (and your supporting IT staff!).
  • Starting a Minecraft service in your library takes time to set up and get going. Take the time to research, share your findings with staff, and roll out your program in a timely manner. The kids may want it NOW, but reassure them you want to do it right.

Happy digging (mining?) into the below resources!

Articles on Minecraft

Official Minecraft Site

What is Minecraft?

Help, My Kids Are Obsessed with Minecraft!
Great for talking points with parents!

How Videogames Like Minecraft Actually Help Kids Learn to Read

Getting Started with Minecraft

Official Minecraft Page
Info on various Minecraft products

Purchase and Download Minecraft

Minecraft: Education Edition (Coming soon!)

NOTE: Libraries that have added Minecraft to their services have either used the original Minecraft tools or MinecraftEDU (a company that was formed to create a teacher-friendly version of Minecraft to use in the classroom). MinecraftEDU was also purchased by Microsoft, and they have plans to continue this aspect of Minecraft in the form of the Education Edition. All of this is still in BETA, but keep an eye on the project’s development.

Crafting Cheatsheet

Introduction to Redstone Circuits in Minecraft

Minecraft Code of Conduct Examples

How to Setup a Minecraft Server

Information on and How to Use Minecraft Realms as your Minecraft Server

Minecraft and Social Media

Minecraft Facebook Group
A great place to ask questions and get programming ideas

Minecraft in Libraries Pinterest Page

Alternatives to Minecraft

3D Print your Minecraft Creations

Free and Open Source Block Sandbox Game like Minecraft

Game for Tablets similar to Minecraft but with Real World Elements

Toca Builders
A Block Sandbox Building Game appropriate for Children age 3-7

Minecraft Pi Edition
A Version of Minecraft for Raspberry Pi Computers that Users can Mod

A 2D Block Sandbox Building/Adventure Game (Minecraft meets Super Mario)


Print, Cut and Fold your Own Minecraft Creation

Perler Bead Instructions

Minecraft Perler Bead Patterns

Thingiverse Minecraft Files to 3D Print or Design Remix

This is the first in the How do I…? series, where Colorado librarians share their expertise in specific programming topics.


Amy Hitchner
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