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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stealthy in More Ways than One!

Fun in the stacks with Riddle Me Readers Stealth Program
Thanks to Alisha Green from LEPMPL for this guest post, talking about the stealthy ways she and her colleagues are teaching kids to use the catalog!

I was first approached last year by our Friends coordinator who wanted to sponsor a program for kids during National Friends of Libraries Week that would encourage kids to use the computer catalog and get them into areas of the stacks that they may not normally visit (we offer more than just Pok√©mon and Disney princess books!).  We came up with the Riddle Me Readers program and have done it the last two years, both with great results. 

Offered each day of the week was a different riddle that led to a children's book.  We used riddles from the book Spotthe Plot: a riddle book of book riddles by Patrick Lewis.  If participants solved the riddle and located the item in the stacks they would find there an envelope with a prize drawing form.  Each finisher received either a piece of candy or a sticker and one winner was drawn each day to win an amazing prize (such as an art or science kit or a Razor scooter!) purchased by the Friends...though prizes obviously wouldn't be needed. 

It was a simple program that brought great opportunities to help kids learn how to use the catalog and locate materials in a fun way.  Parents loved it too!  It was good practice in catalog searching whether they knew the title but not the author or when they knew what the book was but they couldn’t remember the exact title.  It also gave staff several opportunities to walk kids through a catalog search and show them how to search for an item with only limited information about it, and we got that info by taking key words directly from the riddle.  Several of the titles were available as a book, audiobook and movie which meant they had to search (and learn about) more areas of the library until they found it…hehehe.    

It's even more fun to solve riddles with a friend!
Several families made it a point to come to the library several times that week just to solve the new riddle of the day.  There was one family for sure that visited the library every day that week for the new riddle.  The mom of this family wrote on our Facebook riddle post: “Our kids are having so much fun with these riddles!”  

I think some kids try to steer clear of having to use the catalog, but this was a great way to show them how to use it and what a great tool it can be. 

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