During the last working weekend before I took time off for graduate school, a teen volunteer emailed me. He had transformed Ms. Chris into a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) character for the club’s next campaign. This volunteer had initially struggled through his time at the library until he found his purpose: facilitating a middle and high school Dungeons and Dragons club. Watching him gain a more serious attitude and excited to attend shifts, he helped mentor tweens and teen peers during the club. The camaraderie and enthusiasm created helped convert the library into a popular Wednesday night hangout spot, ultimately influencing the addition of Dungeons and Dragons as well more fantasy-related resources to the teen collection.
One of the best ways to create an inviting teen library space is by starting a teen-led tabletop gaming club. Using classics like Monopoly, Uno, Apples to Apples, Chess, Heads Up, and Jenga can initiate a starter club if D&D seems a little advanced. If space permits, Twister and Giant Jenga are also hits. These universal games can then become the gateway to other programs and showcasing young adult collections.