Puzzle and Board Game Swap

The photograph shows a wooden table with an assortment of 500- and 1000-piece puzzles in boxes on top. A puzzle with a rainy street view of Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background, is put together on the table surface. A wooden giraffe also stands on the table.
Photo by Simon Hurry on Unsplash.

by Emily B.

Over the last few years, there’s been a growing interest in board games and puzzles. This likely started due to the stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the pandemic. In the years following, their popularity has continued. Board games provide an engaging experience with friends and family, shared through competition or collaboration, while puzzles also offer solo and group fun. Working on a puzzle can be meditative, and it provides a great way to de-stress while engaging the mind. Ever since completing my first 1,000-piece puzzle a few years ago, puzzles have been my favorite way to unwind after work.

If you’re a puzzle or board game fanatic, you won’t want to miss the Community Puzzle & Board Game Swap happening at HCLS Central Branch on Sunday, January 29 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm. The swap is the perfect time to trade any games or puzzles that you no longer need for something new to you. Puzzles and games need to include all their pieces.

To participate, bring any gently used board games or puzzles that you would like to swap. When you arrive, you can trade your items with other attendees or with any donated items. Feel free to share your best gaming and puzzling tips with other attendees and learn about upcoming puzzle- and game-related events at HCLS. In addition to swapping, you can learn about all of the free eResources available through HCLS that you can use while puzzling and gaming.

Donations of gently used board games and puzzles will be accepted if you are not interested in swapping anything. You may bring donations to HCLS Central Branch. These donations will be available for swappers on January 29.  

Click here for the full details on the event. 

We hope to see you there!  

Emily is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch. She enjoys puzzling, reading, listening to music, and re-watching old seasons of Survivor. 

Slay by Brittney Morris

A slightly pixelated picture of a young Black woman with long natural hair and glasses features the quote, "I am a queen and this is my game."

by Eliana H.

“We meet at dawn.” Characters in the online virtual role-playing game Slay confirm duels with that line. In Slay, author Brittney Morris builds two worlds. She shows us the real-life world of high school senior Kiera Johnson, one of the only Black students at Jefferson Academy. We also get a glimpse inside the world of Slay, a video game that Kiera built from the ground up to celebrate Black cultures from around the world. In the game, Kiera is Emerald, a queen who cares for the tens of thousands of players, who use cards inspired by everything from Louis Armstrong to natural hairstyles to battle virtually. But the game Slay is a secret from everyone in Kiera’s real life, as she is confident that none of her friends or family would really understand and appreciate it. The only person Kiera can talk to about the game is Cicada, a friend she met through the game who is now a moderator, but Cicada and Emerald only exchange messages on Whatsapp and don’t know each other’s real names or locations. 

Kiera is preparing to graduate high school, looking ahead to her life in college and beyond, and planning for her future with her boyfriend, Malcolm. She is doing pretty well handling the stress of keeping her worlds separate, until one day when she sees on the news that a boy in Kansas City was killed in his sleep over a disagreement based in Slay. Kiera is devastated, tortured by the guilt she feels that what she created could lead to such a horrific event. Was it her fault? Adding to her distress is the analysis from pundits discussing whether Slay – which is designed specifically for Black players, and which you need a passcode to join – is racist. Of course, many “experts” declare that anything made for Black people and not explicitly welcoming white people is inherently racist. But all Kiera wanted was a place where others like her, who so often find themselves in a world trying to erase them, could shine as the kings and queens that they are. 

Over the course of the book, readers see snippets of other players’ experiences and journey with Kiera through her struggles to face the hard truth of who is threatening to destroy everything she worked so hard to build. 

Slay is also available from HCLS as an ebook through OverDrive/Libby.

Eliana is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She loves reading, even if she’s slow at it, and especially enjoys helping people find books that make them light up. She also loves being outside and spending time with friends and family (when it’s safe).