May 26th, 2015

CCPL Summer Reading 2015: Every Hero Has a Story

Superhero!“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
― Joseph Campbell

This is your official call to adventure!   Should you accept the challenge, you will conquer your fears, come face to face with friends and foes, and claim the treasures that await you on your hero’s journey…

The concept of “The Hero’s Journey,” first identified by mythologist Joseph Campbell as it relates to world myths and stories, is based on the belief that each person is born with a purpose and it is our deepest desire to express it.  We are each the hero of our own life’s story.

“Every Hero Has a Story” is the theme for this year’s Summer Reading Program at public libraries across the nation.  It is an invitation to readers of all ages to participate in unique reading and learning opportunities at every library and be richly rewarded!

Thanks to the heroic support of the Cecil County Friends of the Library, powerful programming is planned at every branch.  From Spiderman to local K-9 police dogs, from George Washington to family farmers, celebrated stories of heroes past, present, and future will be spotlighted.

Be amazed and delighted by Mike Rose’s “Super Magic,  go face-to-face with sharks thanks to the National Aquarium, bring favorite nursery rhyme heroes and heroines to life with Winterthur Museum,  create hands-on “super art” with the Delaware Art Museum and train to be a future hero with martial artist Josh Hayhurst.   All library branches will offer an action-packed line-up of early childhood classes, school-age activities, STEM and lots more for teens and adults!

Educators agree that reading is integral to success in school and in life.  To encourage everyone to keep reading throughout the summer months, incentive programs are offered at all levels from babies through adult.  Parents are encouraged to enroll younger children in “read-to-me”; older readers can track time spent reading and all receive fantastic prizes and coupons and earn chances to enter grand prize raffles for scooters, Orioles tickets, family fun baskets, gift cards and more!

The action officially begins June 1 and runs through August 8.   Most branches will host Summer Reading Blast-off events on June 6 packed with superheroes, a Comic-con, environmental heroes, crafts, refreshments, and program registration.  Contact your local branch for details and leap into your library to live out your own hero’s story!

Who is your favorite hero?


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May 19th, 2015

Why Board Games Are Back

board-game-529586_1280I’m not a long-time lover of the hobby but I fell hard and fast for it recently. By total luck, right now happens to the most exciting time to be a board gaming enthusiast. When most people think of “tabletop” games they think of either casino gambling, antiquated board games like Clue or Monopoly, or worst of all, the fantasy dice games from the 1980s, often stigmatized as being played by Middle Earth-loving, Dungeons & Dragons outcasts. Well, that’s changing. A lot of cross-pollination has been going on recently, putting us in a new golden age of social table games.

For me it started a little over a year ago. On a total whim, I was in Christiana Mall and picked up a strange and clever-looking game: Forbidden Island—a cooperative game where the players work together to collect treasures on a sinking island. I was summarily swallowed alive by this new world of what is now called “modern tabletop gaming.”

Wil Wheaton of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fame is exhibit A. He has over one million Youtube subscribers for his weekly internet show “TableTop” where he plays card, dice, and board games with B-list actors and internet celebrities. Exhibit B is the spike in sales. Since 2012, annual industry-wide sales have gone up 10-20% by major companies, and attendance at gaming conventions have increased by thousands. Some of the reason for their success is sheer business—brilliant designers making fresh games. These companies have a broad spectrum of games appealing to diehard-gamers and non-gamers alike. Some are inexpensive, easy-to-learn, 30-minute family games while some are hundred dollar behemoths taking hours to learn and hours to play.

But why is this blowing up now? Exhibit C: I think there is evidence accruing that people are tired of their technology. Friends who only see each other on Facebook and social media are beginning to quietly revolt. Humans are social animals, and rather than spending hours playing XBOX or texting each other, there is a movement gaining momentum for in-person gaming. Tabletop gaming scratches that itch for families and friends alike.

For proof, I urge you to go to Barnes and Noble or Target and just look at how retailers are responding to the evolution. Games that were never carried 5-7 years ago now pack the shelves. Instead of just Apples to Apples and Risk, retailers are now carrying elegant, creative games with quality components, knock-out artwork, and unique game mechanics. You’ll find games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Zombicide, Sheriff of Nottingham, King of Tokyo, and Sushi Go!

If you’re a geeky adult, or have kids over eight, you should consider reaping the benefits of this new golden age. And if you want to try to win one of these games, attend the 4th Annual all-ages sci-fi and fantasy event “Magic, Space, & Swords!” this August for your chance to go home with one of these boxes of fun. Don’t forget to check out “The Dice Tower” on Youtube for weekly reviews, or boardgamegeek.com for industry news, trends, and ratings.

Lastly, Mr. Matt, that’s me, will be exhibiting family-friendly card games at the Library Con on Saturday June 6 from 10am-12pm at the Perryville Branch. Come play a sample game!


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