Little Free Libraries

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Over the past month I have been “seeding” Little Free Libraries all over town with RPGs, character sheets, dice and adventures. I’ve been giving out both Cairn and Rogueland (the same versions you’d get from a store).

But, why?

First, let me makes something plain: I’m not endorsing the LFL website/nonprofit, I’m simply taking advantage of their existence. FWIW, 90% of the little libraries around my town are not affiliated with the organization. There are folks with real beef about these things, and that’s worth considering. I do suggest that you reach out to the original authors of whatever games/adventures you distribute and make sure that they’re cool with it, though.

All of my work is free, and always will be. I am fortunate enough to not rely on this creative work for my income, as well as a strong believer in Copyleft. I may charge for my work in the future to pay for original art, of course (though I will certainly have an art-free zero cost version as well). All of my work is also CC-BY-SA 4.0, and I provide the original assets for download whenever possible. That said, I still pay to print my work (whether locally or via a print shop), and sell that for folks who want it. I use the proceeds to fund my RPG habit creative work. However, printing a deluxe version of my game in large quantities lowers the price considerably, to just over $1 per booklet. Thus spending $15 to bring 15 RPGs into people’s hands isn’t a big deal to me.

OK, but how?

This was of course, not my idea. I think I first heard about it from this CavernsOfHeresy tweet, using the #IRLCommunityCopies hashtag. Then I saw that Roz had done it at least twice. Encouraged by their efforts, I reached out to CavernsOfHeresy (our games are friends since birth) and a deal was struck: I would send a “stack” of Cairns in exchange for a pile ‘o Roguelands.

I then began the hunt. Although there is a semi-functional website that lists local Little Free Libraries in my area, (each just waiting for me to pay a visit) I found that it was sorely out of date and difficult to use. Instead, I began to take note of their locations while driving, biking and walking about town. I also asked other locals (fun!) and had a hilarious conversation with another local creator (my NPC-Quest-Giver in this scenario) about their various hidden locations. Finally, I had a list of 14 locations in my town alone!

In process…

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I ordered these dice (20 bags for $30) as well as these bags (both the 6 x 9 and 8 x 10 varieties). In the end, I think I spent around $50, though I use the latter for sales of other products so it was no big deal. I printed out some nice character sheets, dropped the game and dice in a bag and:

Ready to deliver!

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I’ve also been including these “explainers” along with each dice bag:

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Shawn from CavernsOfHeresy made them. You can grab them here.

You can do it, too!

Thus far, I’ve given away about 14 “deluxe” copies of Cairn, along with 5 generously donated high-quality copies of Rogueland. I plan on donating about 5 a month going forward, and (if possible) will give some to the local library (assuming they let me). I plan on distributing a bunch of adventures (with permission) in the near future as well.

I highly recommend anyone give this sort of thing a shot, it’s quite rewarding and interesting. And nothing beats that feeling of sneakily checking to see if someone has picked your game out of all the books! I mean, who wouldn’t be drawn to a bag of dice, right?

If you do happen to try this out, please let me know! With pics!

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