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How good are you with puzzles? Local libraries hosting tournament for all ages

GROVES — Port Neches and Groves Libraries are coming together to host a monthly puzzle tournament from 4-6 p.m. March 17.

The monthly tournaments started in February.

Keilah Baaheth, secondary librarian at Groves Public Library, said the event is a way for the public to connect people of all ages and stimulate minds.

“What we wanted to do was bring in more adult events during the school year,” Baaheth said. “We want to get them more involved with the library, so the puzzle tournament was an idea that we came up with a few months ago as a way to do that.”

Baaheth said coordinators at the Groves library reached out to the Effie and Wilton Hebert librarians to seek their advice on hosting the tournament for both buildings.

Port Neches accepted.

“You would be surprised how many adults come in and do our puzzles,” Baaheth said. “The teens, younger children and adults love it. So the tournament, I felt, was a safe venture to make.”

The event is free and open to the public. Contestants can arrive with pre-assembled teams or individually.

Participants are grouped together and timed to see who can complete their 300-piece puzzle first. Last month’s trial run yielded 10-15 people broken into five to six groups.

“We had lots of fun,” Baaheth said. “They all loved it. We had a little toddler, a few older patrons, and some middle-aged members. We had all ages there and they were all able to compete together. At the end of it, everyone was smiling and laughing and gave the event big thumbs up.”

Baaheth said building puzzles is a great way to learn patience and practice focusing the mind.

“Personally, puzzles calm me,” she said. “I’m able to focus. There’s no stressing. I am able to just sit down and relax. My mind is working, but it’s calming and fun. It’s therapeutic, allows teamwork and interaction.”

For 73-year-old Sarah Hawes, the tournament was a way to spend time out of the house and exercise her mind in a fun way.

“I like to work puzzles a lot,” she said. “I have cats at home, so it doesn’t work at home to have all those little pieces lying around. It’s ideal to come to the library and do that. It’s just fun to work a puzzle, winning or not winning, the accomplishment is to finish it.”

The Port Arthur native often visits the Groves and Port Neches libraries for puzzle work.

“(Creating puzzles) helps you to focus and concentrate on what you are doing,” she said. “It exercises your mind to memorize shapes, colors and pieces to figure out where they go and how they fit.”

Baaheth said March’s tournament would be St. Patrick’s Day themed.

“We encourage everyone to come out and solve some puzzles,” she said. “We just ask that you come with determination to win and a smile on your face. Come ready to have fun.”

Both libraries are also accepting puzzle donations with all assembled pieces available.

For more information, visit https://www.loc8nearme.com/texas/groves/groves-library/5609507/.