Nova Scotia·Audio

How a librarian is using Dungeons and Dragons to foster a love of reading

A Nova Scotian librarian living in the U.K. has written a guidebook for other librarians about the literacy benefits of one of his favourite games: Dungeons and Dragons.

Lucas Maxwell is originally from Weymouth and now lives in the U.K.

Lucas Maxwell has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since he was a kid. (Lucas Maxwell)

A Nova Scotian living in the U.K. has written a guidebook for librarians on how to promote literacy through one of his favourite games: Dungeons and Dragons.

Lucas Maxwell grew up in Weymouth and is now the librarian at a high school in the south of London. When he started a Dungeons and Dragons club at the school, he noticed students who used to say they hated reading were coming into the library more often. 

"They are in the library every day poring over these books for this game ... so it's like a guerilla-style literacy thing where they are reading tons and they're also creating these back stories for these characters," Maxwell told CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia.

The book includes interviews with mental health professionals about the benefits of the game. (Submitted by Lucas Maxwell)

Maxwell decided to put some of the lessons he learned running the club into a book, Let's Roll: A Guide to Setting up Tabletop Role-Playing Games in Your School or Public Library. It includes advice for other librarians about using the games to inspire reading, as well as details on the mental health benefits of the game.

As someone with autism, Maxwell said Dungeons and Dragons has been especially meaningful to him

"I've always struggled with social interactions, small talk," he said. "I'm not great at looking people in the eye, never really had a good experience trying to make friends and stuff like that."

"And D&D, for me it removes all the … what I call social barbed wire that an autistic person experiences because everybody's there for the same reason. There's no small talk per se. You just are there to play this game."

You can listen to Information Morning's full interview with Lucas Maxwell here:

Lucas Maxwell from Weymouth was once voted the best school librarian in the United Kingdom. He's a fan of the game Dungeons & Dragons and has discovered the game really helps kids who are neurodivergent. Hear about a guide he's written for schools to use D&D as a tool.

With files from CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia