Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons & Donuts

There's a teen program happening in the library RIGHT NOW and I'm not even in the room.  Does the idea terrify you?  A couple of years ago I wouldn't have entertained the thought, but it turns out that if you give a few of your problem teens some real responsibilities that a lot of you behavior issues vanish.

I stole the idea of having a D&D night from fellow local teenbrarian and good friend Kricket (my co-presenter at the conference a few months ago and usual travel companion for TCAF).  I scheduled a once-a-month night and roped a couple of my older teens into being DMs.  I went to the first meeting and made a character, figuring that if it was a small group I might need to play.  By the next meeting they were over a dozen strong, had split into two different games, and wanted to meet EVERY Thursday, not just once a month.

There have been a few bumps--one of my DMs got a job and a girlfriend and his game-the one all of the older teens played-had a dramatic falling out.  But the younger teens stayed, and their game has continued to grow under the leadership of a teen who is a conspiracy theorist and thus would rather I not share his name.

The problem with their desire to meet so often is that I simply cannot be in the room with them every Thursday night for 3 hours.  And so while I am at the reference desk they are tucked away in our activity room with the knowledge that so long as I can't hear them they are free to swear and play a violently gory game of D&D.  I stick my head in now and then to make sure everyone is literally alive (though often their characters are not) and nobody's upset.  Generally they are just fine, munching away on donuts and slaying dragons.  Their parents couldn't be happier.  In some cases some VERY awkward boys have just found the group of friends they've always wanted, and I suspect these guys (and a few girls!) will be around the library for years to come.

I am so, so happy I didn't have to continue to play after that first meeting.  I sometimes snag a donut though. 

1 comment:

  1. Well done! I think a hallmark of successful programs of this nature (games, cooperative stuff) is when the teens take over running it themselves and you no longer need to attend/run things. Kudos!