‘Teen Game Zone’ returns to Stillwater Public Library with Mario Kart

Story provided by Stillwater Public Library

Stillwater Public Library (SPL) is bringing back “Teen Game Zone,” a free program for teens in grades 6-12, on Friday, May 19, from 6-8 p.m. Teens will enjoy pizza, snacks and sodas as they compete to become Mario Kart champions on Nintendo Switch.

The first “Teen Game Zone” in January was well attended, so Jordan Stine, SPL’s teen librarian, decided to make it a regular occurrence.

“This time, we’ll be playing Mario Kart due to its massive popularity at the library’s lock-in last March,” Stine said. “Plus, it’s the end of the school year and we want to reward the teens with a friendly, competitive gaming event.”

Mario Kart is a four-player arcade game where players race against their friends using classic Nintendo characters. However, to add a competitive edge to the game, librarians will make this program a tournament where teens enter the contest with a seed and battle one another on the racetrack. SPL will provide prizes to teens who finish in first, second and third place.

“I have a stash of cool prizes,” Stine said. “I have an action figure, art sets, books of course and a stockpile of other random trinkets.”

The tournament will be double-elimination style where teens get two chances to move on in a bracket. Upon arrival, attendees will get their names entered into a randomizer that creates a bracket with matchups. Then, they race! The winner moves on; the loser goes into a loser’s bracket.

Teens who would like to get some practice time in before the event are invited to come an hour early at 5 p.m.

“The Nintendo Switch will be set up for practice runs,” Stine said. “I would definitely want to get warmed up a little bit before the event.”

Another benefit of hosting video game events is bringing Stillwater’s community of gamers together. The library has worked with the high school’s Esports team and Game Stop to host tournaments at previous programs.

Daniel Schwager, Stillwater High School’s Esports team manager, looks forward to encouraging teens to attend “Teen Game Zone.”

“Both kids and adults loved playing video games at the lock-in,” Schwager said. “Having the space for teens to get some much-deserved relaxation after working so hard this semester is great for them.”

Registration for “Teen Game Zone” can be found at library.stillwater.org/register.php.

Teens who want to help with future teen events can apply to join the library’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC) or sign-up to volunteer for the library’s summer reading program in June and July. Those interested should email [email protected], stop by the library’s Help Desk or call (405) 372-3363 x8127.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.