Expert shares Minecraft tips in Riccarton

A long-time lover of games, gadgets and all things creative has helped to build up one of Christchurch City Libraries’ most popular clubs through the magic of Minecraft.

For long-term Library Minecraft Club participant Nathan Campbell, 20, the chance to share his passion – and unite the collective imagination of younger club members – has been inspirational.

“Nothing is quite as inspiring as working with kids and seeing what everybody else is creating and exploring,” he says.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says it has been wonderful to see a young Minecraft fan help develop the programme.

Nathan Campbell shares his passion for Minecraft.

“We could see Nathan’s passion and potential from an early age and nurtured his talent and skills,” Ms Robertson says. “We have been able to help develop that potential to the point where Nathan is now an integral part of our learning programme.

“Christchurch City Libraries has certainly been the catalyst for Nathan to explore his creativity.”

Mr Campbell, who has helped hundreds of young Minecraft enthusiasts, has been working with Minecraft “since before many of the club’s current members have been alive”.

Today, it is the “interactions with all the kids” that keeps Mr Campbell returning to the local library – year after year – to help new generations build and explore through the video game.

“Their creativity and enthusiasm for something I also enjoy inspire me to keep being creative,” he says. “And every now and then, they will teach me something too.”

The Lincoln University student mainly works with the Minecraft programme at Upper Riccarton Library but also “tends to the Minecraft world” used by South Library and Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre.

“A key part of the overall development has been creating an environment that’s safe for everyone,” Mr Campbell says.

Most of his “builds” have been inspired by a love of literature, antiquity and architecture, as well as works of high fantasy and science fiction.

“My biggest project has been designing an interactive world that can be fully explored, with features such as a desert village, giant castle and Steampunk mothership,” Mr Campbell says.

Some club members come along to design huge buildings, small houses, play with their friends, enjoy exploration and adventure, or work on the technical side with the coding components.

“Minecraft has almost limitless potential,” he says.

“I have taught kids to code – an arithmetic-heavy skill – without them even realising it, and the beauty is that they could open a coding program and recognise all the terminology.”

He says that at the library, young people have a space to visualise, create and adapt any idea in a medium where their resources are virtually endless.

“Utilising the library’s resources for activities in Minecraft is a fantastic way of showing young people how to research and make the most of all that is on offer at the library,” he says.

“For me, creativity, social skills, mentoring ability, design techniques – they all grow stronger the more you use them.”