Scarborough Public Library has opened registration for its latest Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) virtual programs: Summer Dungeon Dive 2021, for people of all ages and experience levels. Chris Libby, MM, MLS, the Library’s Adult Services Assistant, will serve as Dungeon Master for programs ranging from the new intermediate program for children entering grades three through five (and their families), to a program for adults interested in playing the game themselves, or those whose children are thinking about or already playing D&D. Libby has experience teaching new and experienced youth and adult players. Currently, he’s teaching a course to librarians across the state who are eager to offer Dungeons & Dragons programs in their libraries. He recently took a few minutes to answer some common questions about Dungeons & Dragons.

Why are libraries across Maine interested in offering D&D?

It’s not just Maine, but across the region, and perhaps the country. D&D has been celebrating a greater rise in popularity than it’s seen in quite some time. With the availability of live streaming on platforms like YouTube and Twitch, people are able to watch others play the game, which introduces an element of excitement and a desire to participate. And with online platforms available for playing D&D, people who may not live anywhere near each other are connecting and playing together.

As meeting places and community centers, libraries are a great place to have D&D programming, since it’s a place to bring together many people who might be interested in experiencing D&D, but wouldn’t know where to look for other folks with whom to play.

How do younger players benefit?

They can develop empathy and tolerance through playing as different races, or following different deities, and seeing that they can still work as a group to accomplish goals.

It’s a chance to pretend to be someone else, to try out a different way of talking, or a different view of the world; or, it can be a chance to be yourself when, for whatever reason, you can’t be yourself in real life.

It’s a chance to learn social skills and life skills, like time management, cooperation, team building, and problem solving.
It can help hone academic skills, like math, creative writing and reading comprehension, theater, or even coding through the use of online platforms.

Why did you create the new intermediate group?

Most of the participants in our earlier All-Ages One-Shotswere in grades 3-5 (and/or their parents and families). It seems there is enough interest to try a whole campaign dedicated to this age group. It’s also a great age to introduce kids to D&D, since they absorb so much more information when they’re younger. The game may seem a bit complicated, but they pick up on it really quickly.

Why is summertime a good time to start a campaign?

It’s a way of combatting summer learning loss and keeping young minds sharp while they’re not in school. There are a lot of educational benefits to playing D&D, and it gives participants a chance to engage with those skills outside of a school setting.

What do you most want people to know about the SPL’s new Summer Dungeon Dive 2021, Chris?

I’d like to emphasize that we also offer a campaign for adults. A lot of people see that it’s a role-playing game, and assume it’s for kids, when really, it’s accessible to all ages. It can provide a great opportunity for adults to socialize and have a little fun outside of day-to-day life. For parents, it may provide an opportunity to learn something that they can do with their kids. Inhabiting a fantasy character in an adventure seems way out in left field for some people, but it can be a great way to expand horizons.

The schedules for differing age groups are:

ADULTS: Character Creation, 7: to 9 p.m., Sunday June 27

Games Sundays: July 18, Aug. 1 and 15

HIGH SCHOOL: Character Creation, 5 to 7 p.m., Sunday June 27

Games Sundays: July 11 and 25 and Aug. 8

MIDDLE SCHOOL: Character Creation, 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday June 27

Games Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. July 18, Aug. 1 and 15

INTERMEDIATE: (entering grades three and five and their families: parents, guardians, and other family members are welcome with an eligible student)

Games Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m.: July 11 and 25 and Aug. 8

For additional information, visit http://www.scarboroughlibrary.org/events or email Chris Libby at [email protected] Registration closes Friday, June 25 so there’s still time to join in the fun and learning of D&D at the SPL.