DAKOTA JORDAN-Hernandez tries to surprise an opponent by shooting over the top of the stacks.           Ian Stepleton photo
DAKOTA JORDAN-Hernandez tries to surprise an opponent by shooting over the top of the stacks. Ian Stepleton photo

     DON’T BE SURPRISED IF you start seeing kids spending more time studying military tactics while visiting the Ripon Public Library.

     After all, where better to prepare for their next big library event?

     While Ripon’s largest repository of knowledge might be best known for its tomes, once a month or so it becomes the front line of the most fun battle ever to occur in town.

     And it’s not only for the kids.

     Ripon Public Library holds several Nerf-gun battles a year after hours among its stacks, alternating between events for teens and for adults.

     Librarian Mandy Sprague brought the concept to Ripon, modeling it after similar programs elsewhere.

     “Public libraries are ever-evolving to serve the needs of the community and one of those needs that we address is the importance of play in learning,” she said. “People tend to think of early childhood development when they talk about the importance of play in education, but the library supports the lifelong learner. Strategic planning has a significant role in a successful Nerf battle campaign.”

     In Ripon, the program began exactly a year ago with an adults-only Nerf event.

     “It was a hit! We had a fun mix of adults attend, many of whom are regulars at our Adult Game Nights, and even had a group of college students join us,” Mandy said. “After that, we knew we had to offer this program to teens too ...”

     To read the entire column, see the Jan. 5, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.