A summer distraction at the library

Riverton facility hosts Anime Club’s Super Mario Bros. event

Albert J. Countryman Jr./The Sun Getting ready to compete in the Super Smash Mario Bros. Ultimate tournament at the Riverton library were Savannah Smith (left to right), Seth Cooper, organizer Susan DiLeo and David Smith.

While parents often hear the lament from kids during summer that there’s nothing to do, that wasn’t the case earlier this month at the Riverton library’s first teen gaming tournament on Aug. 14.

The event – held in the library’s quaint Victorian building on Main Street – is the brainchild of library assistant Susan DiLeo and members of the Anime Club. Ten contestants with Nintendo controllers filed into the library’s back room, where chairs were set up and surrounded by stacks of books.

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“The Anime Club meets twice a month, and we were thinking of other things we could do,” said DiLeo, who organized the Super Smash Mario Bros. Ultimate Tournament with her 17-year-old son, Seth Cooper. “They (teens) all said they like gaming.”

Among contestants were Anime Club members and a few new teenagers.

“We have been really looking forward to this,” Cooper told the teens. “We all play a lot of games, and thought the tournament would be fun.”

DiLeo – a stay-at-home mom before she joined the library staff in 2022 – said it took some time to get library programs up and running again after COVID shutdowns. The teen Anime Club has been a great success, she said, with a dozen or so participants who come out every meeting.

“I adore these kids; a lot of them have become friends among themselves,” noted DiLeo.

She encouraged more teens from Palmyra and Riverton to join the club, which gathers to watch and discuss anime, computer-generated animation that originated in Japan.

“We welcome you to bring any games to play or fan art you’ve created to share with the group,” DiLeo explained, adding that the club is intended for teens from 11 to 18.

Before the gaming tournament started, DiLeo was busy getting things ready, welcoming guests and making popcorn – all with a smile.

The 124-year-old Riverton library has been a gathering place since 1899, with its first location in the reading room at the Parish House of Riverton’s Christ Episcopal Church. It moved to its current space after Sarah Morris Ogden purchased the existing Victorian home in 1908 and deeded the building for $1 to the Riverton Free Library Association in memory of her late husband, Edward, the town’s first mayor.

Through the 1970s, students from Riverton and Palmyra public schools and Sacred Heart School did homework and researched term papers at the library using giant encyclopedias – precursors to the internet and Google. 

The library is now part of the county system, with a 3D printer at the Westampton branch that produced a trophy for the Mario Bros. tournament winner.

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