Play on: Brooklyn Public Library launches board game loan program

Library board games
Benjamin Perry, Deidra Gadson, and Jason Woodland pose in front of an array of board games at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

The Brooklyn Public Library began lending out board games in its Prospect Heights and Crown Heights branches this week, allowing patrons to check out their favorite brain teasers for up to three weeks, according to a library rep.

The long-awaited Board Game Library offers more than 80 titles for players of all ages, including favorites such as Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, and 7 Wonders. 

Members can sift through the library’s online catalogue — which sorts the games according to their difficulty level, game play style, and age group — to find their favorite brain twister, or to discover a new game they’d like to try.

To reserve a game, patrons must place a hold online. When the game is available, members must select a time to pick it up from either the Central Branch by Grand Army Plaza or the Crown Heights Branch on New York Avenue. 

Up to three games can be checked out at a time. 

The Board Game Library was slated to be rolled out last spring, but was delayed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In light of the virus, games will be quarantined in between check outs, and members must pick up the games in the library’s lobby while wearing a mask. 

Game-lovers who prefer to stay home can attend the library’s virtual gaming events, such as online chess lessons and video game tournaments. 

A Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman told Brooklyn Paper last year that the library chose the games by asking members what they’d be most excited to take home. 

“The librarians who developed the proposal surveyed patrons to learn what games they liked, what games would be good for children, and what games they would be interested in checking out,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer.

And though the coronavirus outbreak may have delayed the initiative’s launch, one librarian praised the timing of the program’s debut, arguing that the board games will provide patrons with needed respite as they quarantine.

“The pandemic created an environment where people are more in need than ever of new ways to interact with each other in isolation,” said Benjamin Perry. “Games can help us to relax and try something new, either alone, or with one another, can give parents a short break while kids are entertained, and for younger patrons can even complement their schoolwork.”