My dad retired from NYC Board of ED in 2003. He was the principal of a K-8 school, and he was sort of a celebrity in the area. Every Christmas season, we would park in Williamsburg, take the train to the city for a play and then end our day at Fortunato Brothers. A little bakery in the heart of the school’s service area. My dad in this space was not just my dad. He was Mr. Buono. Every where he went people knew his name, and he knew everyone else’s. Granted, as a principal, people are forced to acknowledge your existence. But the difference is they loved him.

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“Cancel all your programs on Friday night, and spend some time just hanging out.” I uttered it to a small group of librarians, and they looked at me like I was crazy.  We were at Sunrise session at Computers in Libraries.  It was an interesting presentation innovation, and we were practicing the art of brainstorming. The idea hit me like a lightning strike.  We were asked to share ideas without thinking about the specifics, and it just came out. When the group speaker shared it, there was an audible response.

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An Emotional Goodbye

I am writing this article as an open letter. We are censoring what video games we provide people, but we are not stopping their consumption. We are shooting ourselves in the foot to avoid an argument, and it will hurt. Plus we are compromising our own integrity to avoid an argument. It is time to supply our public with access to M rated games.

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I have a confession to make. I have neverattended a full weekend LARP event or a full LARP game. I understand the fascination withit, but I have not done so yet. Why am I writing this then? Because I believethat LARP is special. I used to make fun of it, but I’ve come to understand that it provides a unique outlet for the pressures ofday to day life. Also, I have seen it succeed.

So what is LARP? LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing. The players, like intabletop game, develop characters based off an established setting or system. It is a little more common for the setting to be “homebrewed”, meaning it wasdeveloped by one of the individuals involved. One individual or moreindividuals in a LARP act as GM’s. They control the overallstory line of the event, mediate arguments and organize LARP events.

Much of what goes into planning a LARP is similar to a tabletop game. The difference is that LARP eventsare physically acted out. Like one giant exercise in improvisational theater. Read More →

This article is about programming for Tabletop role-playing games.  If you have questions about this post or you would like to request that I focus on something specific next, please contact me @MichaelBuono on twitter.  Feel free to share your own programs and ideas in the comments section, or you can reach out to me if your internet shy. My email is mbuono@gmail.com. Have a safe and healthy New Year.

Getting the most out of RPG’s in your Library PT. 1: Intro

Getting the most out of RPGs in your Library PT. 2: Collection Development

Programming is easily one of the most difficult parts of our jobs. First of all, it involves a ton of planning. Secondly, it directly involves other humans. That makes it difficult to predict exactly how things will go.  Before I became a librarian, I was well prepared for the task. In addition to prior job experience, I was a game master. I ran games that spanned years of characters’ lives, and that took two years worth of Tuesday nights to run.
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This article is about collection development for Tabletop games. LARP games will get their own love in a post about LARP programming. If you have questions about this post or you would like to request that I focus on something specific next, please contact me @MichaelBuono on twitter. 

Collection Development for niche hobbies is difficult. The materials are not as well reviewed as we would like, they are expensive and there is a limited audience. My friends and I have easily a thousand dollars worth of books. That says nothing of our dice, figurines or random medieval weapons. But we are fans first, and so we buy things we don’t need. There are ways to develop a collection to support the hobby without busting your budget.  First and foremost, only buy the titles that reflect the interests of your teens. I have included a list of recommended buys at the bottom of the page.

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Yes, that is me in the middle

© Philip J. Hall

I’m a nerd. How much of a nerd? I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Dungeons and Dragons. So, I can tell you with some authority that D&D is not a common hobby for the “In crowd” in high school. Honestly, it was not even that popular amongst nerds for a while. In recent years, “pen and paper” and “live action role playing games” have seen a resurgence. There have been more teens buying books, attending cons and even playing in libraries. But what are Role Playing Games?

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Restaurants, Parks, Beaches and retail used to employ teen in bulk.

I took my first job at the age of 14. It wasn’t by choice. I had gotten into enough trouble during the school year that my dad decided it was a good idea to keep me busy.  I worked as a student aid for the New York City Board of Education. My dad ran summer school every year, for as long as I remember.  Every morning we would wake up before the sun rose, and we would drive in. We would grab breakfast, and we would talk mostly about the previous day.

That first job is special to me. Not just for the obvious reasons above, but because I still vividly remember my failures, struggles and successes. I remember my mentors who showed me what it meant to lead. I also remember the bad bosses who accomplished everything through verbal abuse.  Do you remember the first person who talked down to you at work?   I learned some of the most important lessons of my life at that job, and at the other summer jobs I held as a teen.  My summer jobs provided me with the opportunity to make mistakes at work while the stakes were still low. Read More →

Skouts flirt screen facilitates, social and local gaming

Skout Flirt Screen

Social Media has been a positive force for youth. It lets them express themselves, helps them overcome social isolation and it gives them the ability to influence the world without the freedom granted by adulthood. There is a darker side to social media as well. The most evident in recent years has been cyber bullying, but it’s not the only issue.

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It was spring of 2011. I had only been an intern for a few months at Patchogue-Medford, and I was just a face to many people in the area. Barbara Moon was looking for volunteers for the first Author’s Unlimited, and I showed up decked out for work. Tie and all.  Imagine my surprise when everyone was wearing yellow. It was my job to greet, so I stood outside the doors to St. Joseph’s Danzi Center.  Barbara tells me I did an excellent job greeting, but I’m not sure how I could have screwed that up.  In between bouts of providing directions, I stared at the trees across the athletic field and pondered my new profession.

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