A Library's Initiative
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
D20NN’s headquarters are just a few miles down the road from the beautiful new central branch of the Austin Public Library system.
With Austin also the newest home for ‘wizards of the coast’ offices, we were curious as to how the library’s RPG collection fared. What we found is a collection at a very humble beginning, but we also found a staff that understand they have an untapped base of new library patrons if they can offer just a little bit more.
A group of homeschoolers meet at the library’s central branch every wednesday morning to hang out for a couple hours and continue on in their ongoing campaign.
They all have varying amounts of their own materials – character sheets, dice, the usual essentials – but they usually rely on the library’s collection of Dungeons & Dragons
That collection consists of one or two copies of the core materials. The kids are resourceful – they have their own materials and access to D&D Beyond if they need it.
But there’s more than this single bunch of players for the library to service.
The six floor, 200,000 square foot library opened in October 2017, and on any given day several thousand visitors and patrons come in to browse, borrow and play. There’s even a 3-d printer available for the more industrious to create their own minifigures.
Jace Furches and Heath Rezabek help run the teen and youth sections and realize they have a lot more room to grow in the role-playing game section.
Item one in the process is to get expansion materials catalogued in the right places.
“I’ve been talking with Cataloguing trying to get them all in one place,” explains Furches. “We have the core books in the teen collection. Strahd is in the teen collection but Volo’s Guide is in the adult section for some reason. So we’d like to get those all in one place so they can be highlighted.”
Just like some of the other board and role playing games on the shelves now, the library only has a certain amount of money to spread across all of its departments. That’s another challenge when those who want to play rpg’s have the same issue.
The library offers computer gaming by way of steam’s “PC Café” program – a way for patrons to play games on their own accounts while “borrowing” titles available from the pc café account.
D&D Beyond does offer a similar solution, and the library will be seeing how it can fit into their plans to expand.
With a new year just around the corner, Jace and Heath are confident luck – and quite possibly, donations and deals – will be on their side.
You'll see and hear more from the kids of the homeschool D&D club on the Feb. 22 premiere of our Multiverse Monthly newsmagazine.
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