By Stacey Beshers, guest writer
As many gamer parents know, there are so many options out there for kids and parents alike to enjoy together. There are video games, board games, role-playing games, and many more! And yet, sadly, gaming parents also know the pain all of these games can bring to their wallets. What is a parent to do when they just don’t have the cash they need? The answer is simple!
Look to the library!
Did you know that you can check out video games at the library? It’s true! Though some people have images of dusty old libraries where children are expected to remain silent, and fun-free, in their head, the truth is that this image is old and antiquated. Many libraries across the country are working hard to become centers of their community and also leaders in technology trends. I’m a librarian at the Attleboro Public Library in Massachusetts and I can personally attest to how hard we are working to give you, the public, what you want. We currently have Wii games and PS3 games just waiting to go home with you. Other libraries in my community have 3DS, Xbox One, and PC games on their shelves as well. All are available for checkout to bring home, and best of all it’s all free! Contact your local library to see if it has video games available for checkout. If not, let them know you’d be interested in seeing it offered as a service. Libraries are always looking to satisfy patron interests, so if you let them know that gaming is something your family loves to do then they will listen.
Not into video games just yet? Did you know that some libraries have gaming books available? From Pathfinder source books to Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manuals, even comic books that feature the characters from World of Warcraft; these are all things you can check out at the library. Your library doesn’t currently have it in on the shelf? Don’t despair! When you are at your local library: Ask and you shall receive. You can speak to your librarians about Inter-Library Loans. It’s a service that allows libraries across the country to deliver what you desire; again at no cost to you. So if you ask about getting the book you want, chances are that your librarian can find a way to get it for you even if they don’t currently have it.
Ok, but what about board games? Again, your mileage may vary but many libraries are trying to encourage more patrons to come through the door, and board games are a great way to do that. Some libraries keep board games and puzzles around on community tables, encouraging friends and families to sit down for some quality time together. Your library may also have clubs or special events that are great times to go visit and join in the fun and maybe meet other gaming families in the community. In our library we have a monthly Lego club, a weekly chess club, and special events such as Wii tournaments. Other libraries have Dungeons and Dragons clubs, Magic The Gathering events, and board game nights. All free, all just waiting for you and your family to come participate in.
So what are you waiting for? If budget has held you back, then you need fear no longer, just look to the library. See what they have, ask for what you want, let them know what you’d be interested in seeing. Old fashioned no longer, libraries are great resources for gaming kids and parents as well as the community at large; so get to the library and start having some fun!
NOTE: If you are not sure where your local library is (or if there are any in neighboring towns) you can do a geographic search here!