“Libraries,” in the sense of “places of knowledge and information hoarding,” have existed since the Sumerians of the third millennium, B.C.E. In fact, explorers sometimes stumble across these ancient troves of lore, their dusty pages kept as secreted away as they were back then. However, the concept of “library” as “site of publicly available information” is a much more recent development: In the United States, Andrew Carnegie’s library construction project from 1883 to 1929 was revolutionary. Before then, libraries had closed stacks; you needed to ask a librarian for a specific book, who would go get it for you. The Carnegie libraries had open stacks; patrons could peruse the collection and picked ones based on what seemed interesting.
Today most libraries are open-stack, although various organizational systems- such as the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress Classifications – enable people to find books on topics they want (Easy to Moderate investigation roll to find a book, depending on how obscure; if the topic is not represented by the classification system, or the book has been omitted for some reason, a Moderate to Difficult search check of the books themselves is required, along with the time needed to look at the publications).
Although libraries primarily dealt in books and periodicals, the library system reinvented itself a couple of decades ago, expanding into media (CDs, video tapes, computer software, and DVDs) and, for many communities, computer and Internet access. Some authorities worry that these public-access computers provide untraceable access for nefarious hackers, but information specialists believe using them in that way is challenging (+6 to tech checks for computer attacks originating from public terminals). Libraries can also refer to any specialized collection of texts, or contain those texts as a special collection; these collections are not necessarily public access, and may require Contacts (rank 3 or greater, depending on value of information) to access. However, the lore these restricted stacks can share may be phenomenal (providing +6 or more to certain scholar specializations, and possibly Magic or Psionics skills).
Libraries would be mostly unchanged throughout most D6 Adventure settings, although settings prior to 1980 or so would be limited to books and periodicals. Pre-Carnegie researchers would need to endure the closed stack system – and the resultant charm, con, or persuasion rolls necessary to obtain books from librarians – as would researchers at many university libraries, regardless of the era.
Don’t Miss …
The Collin-LeRoy Library, opened in 1973. is one of a few libraries in town. It provides books on a number of subjects, although popular fiction, nonfiction, and self-help remain their biggest collections. Its open stacks, like most public libraries, use the Dewey Decimal Classification. It provides public access to computers and most media types (including media readers), and its newspaper collection covers community events for the past 200 years, although many patrons are confounded by the microfiche readers necessary to access that information. Due to tight budgets, it is open 11:00 A.M. through 5:00 P.M. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and 2:00 P.M. through 8:00 P.M. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; it is closed on Sunday.
Despite the limited resources, the library does what it can for the community, including after- school reading programs, book clubs, and literacy programs. It also strives to provide access to information, even if it doesn’t have it immediately: It boasts that their interlibrary loan system can acquire 95% of all books published in the last 200 years if given enough time (traditionally three months, although sometimes longer).
Those who wish to borrow materials need to provide a license and proof of local residency, and there is a checkout limit of six of any one media type (books, tapes, DVDs, etc.) at a time. The library also has a gift shop that sells inexpensive wares and donated materials (Very Easy Funds roll for most materials).
The head librarian since the library opened, 77- year-old Dr. Claire Spade, is surprisingly spry for her age, and enthusiastically helps those seeking knowledge (providing +4 to assisted scholar and investigation: research checks). However, the Collin- LeRoy Library has a secret cache of books and materials. Dr. Spade knows what subjects they cover, obviously, but she claims them to be a closed stack and refuses to permit anyone to access them unless they provide a specific title request. To date, no one is known to have done so correctly. The mystery of these books, and what topics they cover, remain one of the most closely guarded secrets of the library; their room has a Very Difficult security system (in stark contrast to the Easy systems of the rest of the library) and video surveillance. Those who know Dr. Spade believe she is guarding this information for good reasons, although they are usually at a loss for what those reasons could be. They also worry what will happen when the day comes where Dr. Spade will need to retire … or what would result if something happened to her before then.
Things to See
+ Softcover and hardcover reference and non- fiction books in an assortment of heights and thicknesses organized by topic and author on tall wooden shelves
+ Computer terminals with a shared printer
+ Photocopy machine
+ Slender magazines and thick journals on a wide range of family-friendly or scientific-related topics
+ Particle-board tables with wood-laminate tops and plastic, molded chairs with metal legs
+ Cubicle-like tables, which allow some privacy for a single person
+ Several newspapers from the local area and the nation
+ Drawers of cards containing information about the available books
+ Video cassettes, audio tapes, DVDs, and CDs
+ Large microfiche viewer and drawers holding sheets of microfiche (with out-of-print magazines and newspapers imprinted on them)
+ Metal free-standing, spinning racks with mass market-sized paperback books on them
+ Television on a rolling cart with a video cassette player and DVD player on the lower shelves of the cart
+ Water fountain
+ Wooden stepstools
+ Beanbags in a children’s reading area
People to Meet
Most librarians have between ID and 2D in physical attributes and 2D and 3D in mental attributes (3D in Knowledge is the most common). Librarians typically have +1D to + 2D in scholar, and many have additional pips in the specialization scholar: information science. Good modern librarians have up to +1D in investigation, search, and a pip or two in tech, enabling them to find works quickly by hand or computer.
Librarian: Reflexes 1D+1, Coordination 1D+1, Physique 1D+2, lifting 2D, Knowledge 3D, business 3D+1, scholar 4D: information science +1, tech: computers 3D+1, Perception 3D, investigation 4D, search 4D, Presence 2D, persuasion 2D+1, willpower 2D+1. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 1D. Body Points: 8. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ Before she died, an eccentric multimillionaire had accumulated the world’s largest collection of books and documents on a specific topic (Zombies, apocalyptic legends, otherworldly ailments, etc.). It’s now vital the players’ characters find this information … and fast! Can they decipher her library’s obscure organizational system before it’s too late, without accidentally stumbling across any additional Information People Weren’t Meant to Know?
+ The library has been a fixture in town for over a century and is a cultural landmark. So when the players’ characters notice it’s on fire, they may feel compelled to save this piece of history … not to mention the irreplaceable lore that would be lost if they fail to act. And was its fire an accident, or did an arsonist have more sinister plans?