The public library is starting something new with a traditional form of entertainment – board games.

Program librarian Marissa Oteiza is launching a Board Game Cafe at NWT Centennial Library. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

On Nov. 22, a once-a-week Board Game Cafe will be launched in NWT Centennial Library’s meeting room.

And Marissa Oteiza, the program librarian, expects that the Board Game Cafe will be popular with community residents.

In fact, she noted she had originally planned to have the first night of the new activity on Nov. 15, but had to push it back to Nov. 22 because of a meeting in the space that night.

“And there were already people who had a board game night at their house because they were looking forward to coming,” she said.

Oteiza noted there are many new young adults in town – for the Arctic Winter Games and at the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and the Hay River Regional Health Centre – who are very interested in having board game nights.

In the library’s multipurpose room, lamps will be added and the overhead lights will be turned off to give the room the feel of a cafe. Music will also be played through a sound bar.

“So on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. this will be transformed into a cafe,” said Oteiza. “So there will be coffee and tea. There will be dim lighting. There’ll be music playing. And all the tables will be reserved for board game and card usage.”

She estimated that five tables can be set up for the Board Game Cafe, each with a capacity of about four to six people per table depending on the board game, and people can call and make reservations for tables.

“People are welcome to bring in any game,” she noted. “It will be an adult space, so they can bring in adult games.”

Oteiza noted that, if teenagers or adults are playing an adult game, such as Cards Against Humanity, parents can have their children play in an open section of the library.

“There may be parents that are concerned about what board games are being played or what language is being used, so we also have the library space for children and youth,” she said. “It’s up to the parents’ discretion.”

While people can bring their own games, the library also has a selection of board games, such as various versions of Monopoly, Scrabble, chess, poker, Pictureka!, checkers and more.

“We have a variety of games that we can provide, but also I’m encouraging people to bring a board game if they would like to have a specific game,” said Oteiza.

She noted the Board Game Cafe will be held every Wednesday, unless the meeting room is booked for something else.

Oteiza explained there are a number of benefits from the Board Game Cafe.

“I guess my motivation for this is to get people out and doing something fun during the long winter months. It just creates another opportunity for people that are spending their time indoors in the winter,” she said. “But also it is to learn new games. The literacy component is that you’ll be learning how to play new games, maybe learning new reading or literacy skills.”

Plus, Oteiza noted it will be an opportunity for people to socialize.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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