GARDINER — Sage sorted through her game pieces for the board game Quirkle and carefully considered her next move. The 4-year-old sat at a table with her mother, Jen Sculli, in the children’s room at the Gardiner Public Library.

Libraries on Saturday hosted National Gaming Day, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association.

Sage and her mother, who live in Pittston, each started off with six plastic tiles that had different shapes and colors printed on one side.

As in dominoes or Scrabble, the tiles are played in columns. Tiles can be added to the end of another row. Points are given for each tile used. The board game is simple, but it requires tactical maneuvers and well-planned strategy.

“I’m going to use all my oranges,” Sage finally said as she slid over three tiles with different orange colored shapes. “This is like a maze.”

“Now pick another tile,” Sculli told her. “OK, now it’s Mommy’s turn.”

Sage said her favorite board games are Candy Land and the Dr. Seuss game. She doesn’t spend much time playing games on the computer.

“Which is fine with me,” Sculli said.

Sculli, a teacher at Hall-Dale High School, said board games are not as popular as they were when she was a child. Now children play video games or games online. She said it’s a shame because children are not playing the games with their families but by themselves.

“Boys in particular, all they do is play video games,” she said. “They don’t play with their friends. Personally, I think video games are all violent. My husband has Xbox. I tried to find games I would play on it, but they’re all shooting games. I wonder how many kids actually know how to play checkers.”

Laid out on the library tables were games such as Blokus, Yahtzee, The Greatest Day Ever Game and checkers.

Ginni Nichols, young-adult librarian, said National Gaming Day focuses on the social and recreational role that board games offer to library users of all ages, in the same way libraries facilitate connections to books.

Anne Davis, director of library and information services for Gardiner, said traditional board games are fun. You don’t have to stare at a video screen to react. By playing around a table, she said, the dynamics of the game are enjoyed by all participants.

She said board games are always available at the library. By offering board games, people have an opportunity to sit, visit and play games “where one can discuss strategy and laugh over the results.”

“We decided to participate in this national games day because it is just another way to illustrate that public libraries are not just about books anymore,” Davis said Saturday. “In most communities, and especially in Gardiner, it is the town’s heart. It is the community center. It is an educational center, and it is where we meet our neighbors.”

Laura Closson, a dental hygienist from West Gardiner, enjoyed playing the Greatest Day Ever Game with her 4-year-old daughter, Kya. They moved their game pieces around a colorful board, trying to be the first player to match their five cards.

When it was her turn, Kya rolled the big white die on the table.

“OK, now let’s count the (dots on the die),” Closson said.

“One, two, three, four, five, six,” they said together. Then Mom pointed to the squares on the board. They counted those before Kya moved her game piece ahead.

“I used to play board games with my sister all the time,” Closson said. “These days it’s definitely geared more toward computers. She’s taken to (computer games). She likes the PBSKids.org. They have all kinds of games on it, matching games and all those other (shows) she likes, like ‘Curious George.’ So it’s nice to find the time to sit and play a board game.”

 

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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