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Patrons gather in the Central Library MakerSpace on Dec. 7, 2018 to learn the fundamentals of the game Dungeons & Dragons. [Image: Rene Battelle]

As a lifelong bookworm raised in a family of bookworms, I love libraries. I can’t remember a single vacation growing up where we didn’t make what was deemed a necessary visit to the library to take out books for the trip before leaving. But more than just housing the latest books, movies, and magazines, libraries are true havens of learning and technology, and that’s extremely apparent in the advent of library makerspaces. Anything can happen in a makerspace, from 3D printing a prosthetic arm for someone to creating a giant keyboard and learning about a game that might be new to you.

Last December, Trudi Antoine, Rene Battelle, and Dragana Drobnjak – all librarians with the Central branch of the Onondaga County Public Library (OCPL) system in New York – decided to offer an interesting new program that both their adult and teenage patrons would be able to enjoy together, and teamed up with TCGplayer, a local trading card company, to launch two new programs about the classic fantasy tabletop role-playing game of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

The first successfully 3D printed model of a D&D character, designed and produced in the Central Library MakerSpace.

Drobnjak recently said about their new program, “A full year later we are seeing fruits of our labor.”

D&D was first published in the 1970s by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and even in today’s world of highly immersive video games, it is still managing to capture the attention and imaginations of players of all ages.

“Pick a fantastical world, pick a character, gather some friends, and go crazy,” Miguel Zavala told 3DPrint.com about the popular game. “To get started you just need the dice and three core books, which are the Players Handbook, the Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Masters Guide. One of your friends plays the roll of the Dungeon Master, who acts as the story narrator and referee as he throws challenges at the players. But in the end its everyone’s story, as their actions, decisions, and wild roleplaying all make it a shared group story for them to remember for years to come.”

Players create their own characters, and while there are guides to help with the direction of the various D&D campaigns, the game truly requires teamwork and each player’s creativity. That’s why it makes so much sense to play the game in a library, which is already filled with stories.

Just a couple of short months ago, thanks to the hard work of Antoine, Battelle, and Drobnjak, OCPL’s Central Library in Syracuse, in partnership with TCGplayer, began to offer a D&D for Beginners program, along with a D&D Advanced Campaign for the more seasoned players.

While the two programs teach the fundamentals of the game and offer activities for players of different experience levels, they also offer so much more…because as we know, D&D and 3D printing go hand in hand.

D&D Demon Lords, “Out of the Abyss” collection by Miguel Zavala

Antoine said, “This collaboration with TCGplayer has promoted critical thinking, basic literacy, digital literacy, arts literacy, exposure to game design, character development, character design, 3D modeling, 3D printing and community building.”

The D&D programs are extremely popular, and the word is spreading – Battelle was even contacted by a librarian all the way in Savannah, Georgia to learn about how to set up her own program.

“She found out about our D&D program from a friend who lives in this area, and I have been emailing back and forth to help her set up a program at her library,” Battelle explained.

The three Syracuse librarians also had a vision of offering a class all about designing and 3D printing custom D&D characters, which will soon be a reality: the 3D modeling and printing class has been scheduled in the Central Library’s MakerSpace for 2 pm on Wednesday, February 20th.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Source: Syracuse.com]
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