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Town and Village

Librarian forces adults to have fun

Townspeople join for an impromptu life-size version of Chutes and Ladders

PUTNEY—On a recent hot evening, just as the sun went down and the mosquitoes came out, a group of grown-ups found themselves next to the community garden, shoeless, waiting to win or lose.

Over the next couple of hours, Putney Free Library Director Emily Zervas assembled a rotating group of about 10 people and one dog — some of whom got pulled in from their gardening or evening walk — for an impromptu game of life-size Chutes and Ladders, the venerable board game where players are rewarded for good deeds and pay the consequences for bad deeds.

Zervas got the “board” — a life-size, woven vinyl sheet measuring about 8 by 10 feet — for the library’s youth summer reading program.

The library’s reading program wasn’t just about the kids reading books this year. Participants had many opportunities for hands-on (or feet-on) fun, including playing the life-size Chutes and Ladders game.

“When we did the game for the kids, adults kept asking me, ’When can we play?’” Zervas said.

So, after work one night, she brought the game to the flat patch of grass next to the community garden on Carol Brown Way to provide plenty of room and invited friends and waved in passers-by.

A good time was had by all, and most players found themselves climbing the ladder to the winning square at least once that evening. When a player was forced to slide down the chute, the others made sympathetic noises.

Even Sparky the dog got into the act. Although he wasn’t given a chance to roll the giant, yellow foam die, Sparky had plenty to say about the game.

“Ruff, ruff, ruff,” he said, until someone petted him, which quieted him down immediately.

“This isn’t an official library event,” Zervas told participants.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #367 (Wednesday, July 27, 2016). This story appeared on page D1.

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