The OSR, libraries, and youth programming

The OSR and OSR products get mentioned quite prominently in the recently published Dragons in the Stacks [AL], a book written by Steven A. Torres and Cason E. Snow for librarians about implementing tabletop roleplaying as part of youth programming for their patrons. The book, which started out initially as a research paper in 2008 by Cason Snow, includes a definition of the OSR in its glossary at the beginning of the book:

Dragon In The Stacks Glossary

The OSR mentioned in the glossary of Dragons in the Stacks

There is also an entry for “retroclone” then mentions a few OSR products. At the end of Chapter 1, which provides a brief history of the RPG hobby industry, there are two closing segments on the changes to publishing from the rise of POD and crowdsourcing as well as the future of digital publishing. In the latter segment the book states:

“[t]he OSR helped to ensure that entirely new generations of gamers can experience and appreciate classic RPGs.” (9)

In Chapter 2, which discusses building a collection, there are two “core collections” that are presented which are games in physical format (core collection 1) and digital format (core collection 2) that all libraries should consider adding to their collections. The OSR games that make an appearance in these collections are:

Core Collection 1:

Core Collection 2:

As you can see Stars Without Number, by Kevin Crawford, is called out twice and the authors say:

“[w]e have rarely been so impressed with a science fiction game, and since there’s a free version, we’re going to mention it twice…” (25)

Much of the book’s content describes games available for librarians to use and includes entries for many titles that explain the game briefly, and evaluations it using a number of dimensions including complexity, popularity, support, completeness, versatility, and emulation.

The following is a complete list of OSR products mentioned in the book:

Titles with a * next to their name have entries in the book in the game guide section.

Overall, OSR products make up around 15-20% of the products listed in the book overall in the book, and are generally well regarded by the authors.

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  1. Judge Roman January 29, 2015
  2. Judge Roman June 30, 2015