In February we had a group of students coming to the library as part of a Catholic Schools Week mini-course. This was one time a year when the school opens up class time to engage 5-8th grade students in workshops that they otherwise would not be able to enjoy. I signed up our library as a course, not knowing what I wanted to do. This is a big deal for the students, so I wanted the program to be fun, memorable, and something they would want to brag to their friends about when they got back into school, “Yeah, we went to the library. And we did this… Yeah, our course was better than yours. You should have come."
Erica Littlefield, Youth Services Department Head of Twin Falls Public Library. You can access information about how she ran this program on pages 5-6 here.
For our program, I used Erica’s clues and re-wrote them to reflect our library and our collections. You can find a copy of my clues here. Brewer Library- MysteryNightClues I used the brochure that Erica made, and only tweaked the line about where I would be “Come to the Children’s Library and see Miss Emily”.
On the morning of the program, I hid the clues in the books or places referenced on the clues themselves. Some of the books I had planned to hid clues in had been checked out, so I handwrote new clues and just picked different books to hid them in. For the books, I had the clues sticking out the top of the book, to help the kids find them.
To begin, I read the rules and gave each student a copy of the brochure. I then gave each team leader the sealed envelope. It is always fun to open sealed envelopes, and it gave this program a level of mystery! In each envelope was the first clue, and the first location each team needed to go to find clue #2. And they were off! I told them each group could have 2 hints. This program took 30 minutes, and all three teams finished within 5 minutes of each other.
When they thought they knew the answer, each group came back to the Children’s library, and I handed them their second sealed envelop, this time with the solution to the mystery.
I was surprised to see how excited the kids were about this program. They were literally running to different parts of the library, and I had to tell them to be respectful of other patrons. Afterwards they grouped together to discuss the guilty party, and they discussed together what they thought a just punishment would be.
This program was a lot of fun! I was worried about it, but it turned out very okay! I can think of lots of opportunities to use this throughout the year when we just want to do something extra special for the youth who come into the library, and hopefully, help them discover something new.
Downloads from Erica and myself:
Brewer Library- MysteryNightClues