Roleplaying in Your Local Public Library

With National Gaming Day approaching, it seems like a good time to write about games at your local library, A while back I ran across a post at RPG Diehard about roleplaying in a library setting that reminded me of an article by Gordon Dritschilo published at TimesArgus.com, “Night of the dragonslayers.” It’s an oldie, but a goodie about Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, VT hosting overnight Dungeons & Dragons sessions. The piece kicks off like this:

In a top floor lounge area of Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, a group of teens is poring over colorful tomes with even more colorful titles like “The Draconomicon,” “The Book of Nine Swords” and “Magic of Incarnum.”

A floor below them, a band of young adventurers has just reached the entrance of a hostile fortress.

Another floor down, a different group of adventurers examines the dusty contents of an alchemist’s worktable.

It is late in the evening of March 14, the library’s first all-night Dungeons & Dragons marathon. Volunteers have been running weekly sessions of the role-playing game at the library for two years as part of an after-school program. The game is so popular in Middlebury that the library had to turn people away from the all-night event.

It only gets better from there. Checking Ilsley Library’s calendar, I see they still host Dungeons & Dragons Tuesday afternoons. I’m glad to see that, because not only do roleplaying games encourage players to build strong reading comprehension and reasoning skills, but it gets the hobby out in the public, helping to demystify it and make joining in more accessible. However, Liz Danforth’s post on tabletop roleplaying in a library notes some drawbacks as well as benefits to the trend. From the GM’s side of the library gaming experience, you can read Gnombient’s thoughts on his own library game.

On a side note, Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library hosted a four-session D&D campaign that recently drew to a close, as well. They also put on the Ace of Games program this past winter, to great success from what I heard. It’s great to see libraries in Vermont are encouraging the tabletop gaming hobby. With National Gaming Day approaching, a friend of mine is making inroads at the Fletcher Free to get some space for tabletop games in addition to the video games they’re hosting.

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