Every other Thursday, the Chehalis Timberland Library provides a space for teenagers to come together, use their imaginations and participate in a common interest: Dungeons & Dragons. The program started more than a year ago by popular demand after students in the Chehalis area requested the library host a space for the game. Library manager Lily Grant said even though the library alternates weeks for D&D, some students choose to play at the library every Thursday, with some students playing at the library multiple times a week.
“I think they would like us to do it more, and we’re just restricted as far as time,” Grant said. “They have their own group that they book the meeting room for, so they manage that on their own, it’s not an official library program. They’re really into it, it’s kind of a game where you get really invested and involved.”
Adult services librarian Jace Waterman took over the program in February and has seen a consistent 10 to 15 students participate in D&D, where they welcome both new and experienced players. It’s always interesting to hear what the students come up with during their time at the library, he said. During the game time, the library provides snacks for the students like popcorn, noodles and Kool-Aid.
John Capko, a sophomore at W.F. West, was one of the original students who prompted the library to start a D&D program. He views the game as his creative outlet and enjoys the chance to be with like-minded individuals, he said. Capko currently has 14 finished characters and usually plays D&D three different days every week. The best way to learn how to play the game is to make a character, he said.
“Overall, it’s essentially a giant compilation of fantasy, mystery and imagination,” Capko said. “It really is what you make it because there is a huge community of people that continue to make stuff even beyond what the writers did.”
Liam Ohlsson has been playing D&D for three years, but was deemed the group’s Dungeon Master three weeks ago. The game’s Dungeon Master guides players through stories by giving them scenarios or obstacles and then options for action. Ohlsson likes to create his own campaigns and really enjoys the community within the game, he said.
“I like telling stories,” Ohlsson said. “I don’t write good books, but I like writing for this because they can make it work.”
Rose Baker, 16, learned about the library’s D&D program last summer and is currently developing a Gnome Wizard character. Though she is more suited to play rangers and rogues, it’s fun for her to get outside her comfort zone, she said. Campaigns can vary in adventures and length depending on the Dungeon Master, but Baker said she has participated in campaigns that lasted one session and some that lasted an entire year.
“What’s cool about Dungeons & Dragons is it’s kind of like play-acting,” Baker said. “You come up with these characters and you get to be them for a while. Even if it’s only for an hour, you get to be somebody else in these fantastic situations and stories.”
The Chehalis Timberland Library provides a space for teens every Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and D&D is scheduled for the first, third and fifth Thursdays, though some students choose to play every week. For more information, visit www.trl.org/locations/chehalis.
Dungeons & Dragons for Teens
Chehalis Timberland Library
First, third and fifth Thursdays