We’re in Ur Library Bein Ur Books: Making and Using Book-Based RPGs with Middle-Schoolers

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Presenter: Kit Ward-Crixell (SLIS program, Texas Woman's University)

Description: If you turned LiveJournal upside down and shook it, Harry Potter role-playing games [RPGs] would fall out. An LJer myself, I was intrigued when I read this characterization of LJ and went on a cursory search of LiveJournal communities. Not only did I find hundreds of RPGs based on the fictional world of JK Rowling, I found a myriad of RPGs based on other books, or RPGs in which characters from different authors’ works interact. LiveJournal, a blogging website and online community, is also a hotspot of book-based role-playing.

Although there’s no way to determine the ages of the people creating and playing these games, many of them appear to be kids and teens. In other words, many, many kids are using their free time to write, and read other people’s writing about, book characters. For fun. Could this get any better?

Yes, if your library gets in on it!

“We’re in Ur Library” will

  • Discuss benefits of roleplay and ways to relate it to books
  • Discuss how RPGs meet middle-schoolers’ needs through
    • Collaborative learning
    • Grouping by shared interests
    • Problem solving and strategizing
    • Safe, social environments
  • Explain how to create short-term RPGs for your students or patrons on various platforms such as LJ and Blackboard
  • Give ideas for involving students or patrons in RPG design
  • Discuss types of RPGs, the backstage community, and how to moderate
  • Discuss copyright, privacy, and security issues
  • Give many, many examples of fun RPGs that don’t violate anyone’s copyright or mess up your day!
    • Gods and Goddesses of Olympus
    • Fractured Fairy Tales
    • Supes in the Hood (Superhero RPGs with original characters)
    • Comp Noir (40’s style detective RPG with original characters)
    • Even Taller Tales (Heroes of American folklore)
    • And more!

Intended Audiences:

  • Technology librarians
  • Youth librarians


  • Public libraries
  • School libraries

Click the link below to view the Powerpoint.

Listen to an MP3 audio file of this session (35M, 38:01)

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