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Dungeons and Dragons @ the Library

Posted 5 months ago by Joyce F

Starting a Dungeons and Dragons Club was a risk. After all, I wasn't sure it would take off at the West Toledo Branch Library since I didn't know the teen population yet. Plans for DnD at TLCPL (Toledo Lucas County Public Library) started just before Main Library closed for renovations.

What we found was astounding. Although I probably should have known better since I spent a lot of my youth in the Five Points area. Social gathering places like the Toledo Game Room fascinated me with their endless possibilities of board games available. Over the years, new establishments with similar concepts started to appear nearby: Dragon's Roost Coffee and Games and Checkmate Games and Hobbies. Why not bring this into the Library?

It is amazing what simple conversations can do. Teens and emerging adults simply wanted:

a) to find a consistent group to play Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), or

b) a way to get started with DnD without the fear of being judged because no one wants to be treated like a total newbie, and

c) be able to play DnD with an enjoyable theme with their friends

Finding someone to actually "run" the story (in the DnD world, we call it a "campaign") took a while. There were a couple of older teens at Main Library that would have loved to participate, no questions asked. At this point, I had probably half a dozen people approach me or call about an interest in running the DnD Club at West Toledo.

I surveyed the interested participants on what day and times worked best for them (taking into account school, work, and other obligations). I talked with them about what they were interested in doing as a theme and took their wants into account when planning.

We finally found our first Dungeon Master (DM) and had our first DnD night in September 2018 and continued to do so at least twice a month after that. We've helped 20+ teens, young adults, and emergent teens experience making their first DnD characters, dropping them into an organic and expansive method of storytelling that is truly at the mercy of what they roll on their polyhedral die. The teens are learning about making choices and how this may affect themselves as well as others, and how to work together to solve problems, all while using simple math.

Dungeons and Dragons piece
Dungeons and Dragons in action

To play DnD: you really only need a pencil and paper (if you know the basic rules). With the many learning styles, all of our DMs have opted to use maps and miniatures to help players (and themselves) with visuals. I suppose this is where the "tech" part comes in. My participants are very excited about the fact that they were able to 3D print miniatures for themselves to use in DnD at a fraction of the cost to purchase a miniature.

I have hosted Tinkercad workshops with interested teens at West Toledo Library's computer training center. They found this to be rather enjoyable as they were able to converse with other players to get ideas on how to create their DnD characters using the online software. Since Tinkercad is completely free to sign up, our participants can go use this on any of our computers at the Library to build whatever they want! Librarians can then assist you by providing information on where you can find a 3D printer.

Dungeons and Dragons Club at the Library

In March 2019, we found 2 more DMs and started to run 3 separate campaigns consecutively. As of June 2019, all of our DMs have started to run 5th edition adventures. For the summer, West Toledo Branch Library is running its very own homebrew campaign with 3 DMs and its players.

I'm hoping for the following steps in the future to occur with DnD at TLCPL:

  • Hold more miniature painting sessions and/or Tinkercad workshops
  • Creation of a DnD podcast with a small group using a Make U Recording Studio
  • Continue to build long-lasting rapport and support for local teens and emerging adults

Related Books

The ABCs of D&D / written by Ivan Van Norman ; illustrated by Caleb Cleveland
D&D Dungeon Master's Guide / Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt
D&D Monster Manual / Wizards of the Coast
D&D Player's Handbook: everything a player needs to create heroic characters for the world's greatest roleplaying game / writing, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell

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