By Kaitlyn Seastead, Prince William Public Libraries
In response to the global pandemic, Prince William Public Libraries (PWPL) was forced to undergo a massive change in programming and one of the biggest changes was the way we did gaming programs.
Gaming Then and Now
Previously, PWPL held tabletop game nights – times for teens to come in and play library-owned video game console systems – and offered scavenger hunts to patrons of all ages. But the limitations of social distancing meant the library had to move in a new direction. During quarantine, Nintendo Switch games became extremely popular with people of all ages across the world, which inspired several programmers across PWPL to include virtual gaming in their programming schedules. During 2020, our library programmers held video game tournaments and play sessions where patrons of all ages could join from home. We also saw the emergence of online Dungeons & Dragons campaigns for our teen and pre-teen patrons, with half our players new to the role-playing game and excited to learn.
Gaming in the New Year
To kick off 2021, the Haymarket Gainesville Library will continue with virtual gaming content, resuming the popular Dungeons & Dragons programs for both kids 6 – 12 and teens 13 – 18. No experience is required to join the one-shots for the younger kids. All they need to do is register, have access to a computer with a webcam, and come with an imagination! Each month will feature a new one-shot designed to bring lots of fun. We have multiple groups going for the teens on a biweekly basis, so both newbies and veterans of D&D alike are welcome to join us. The teens will also need a character for the long campaign. Teens can bring a pre-built character of an appropriate level for the campaign or the Dungeon Masters (DMs) can help them create one. The teen campaign storylines are flexible, so tell your kids not to worry if they miss the first session.
While it is not Dungeons & Dragons, adult patrons will be able to register for, and virtually attend, the first of two one-shot sessions of Call of Cthulhu on January 20 with the second session taking place on February 17. Like D&D, Call of Cthulhu is a role-playing game but it’s also a horror game inspired by the H.P Lovecraft story of the same name. These game sessions are a tie-in into Haymarket Gainesville Library’s virtual Horror Fiction Book Club that features mystery, murder, and mayhem. If you didn’t get enough spooky reads in during October or need some fresh picks, check out the title of the month and get ready to discuss it. You might even find a new favorite book or discover a new favorite author.
But Wait. There’s More!
Of course we’re not just offering role-playing games this winter. Bull Run Library will be launching a virtual escape room for all ages on January 30 that is inspired by The Hunger Games. You can represent your district and outsmart the Gamemakers to reach the end and win. For teens who aren’t crazy about February’s love-based holiday, Bull Run Library also has a “heartbreaking” trivia game called Anti-Valentine’s Day Trivia, which will be hosted virtually on February 13. Potomac Library, not to be left out, is also hosting a virtual trivia session in February and focusing the questions on Black History Month.
These are just a few examples of what you can expect for virtual gaming programs. Call your local branch or check out our events page at pwcgov.org/library to register for your next game!