Scavenger hunts. They’re awesome. I love participating in a good scavenger hunt and I enjoy organizing hunts for others to complete. And they make a great stealth program. It is a fabulous way to teach something or get people to explore areas they maybe wouldn’t otherwise, but it feels more like a game. It is a great activity that can require little set up and be available for longer periods of time without restocking materials.
We almost always have a scavenger hunt available in Youth Services such as “find all of the letters of the alphabet hidden around the room,” for example. I’ve also written clues for a variety of scavenger hunts for different age levels. This year I wrote clues for a new hunt that was available throughout the week of spring break. My goal was to get kids (and some parents) familiar with the library outside of YS. Many of our young customers are familiar with most of the Youth Services staff, so I also wanted to include staff from the Reference and Circulation departments to show kids that these adults are friendly and approachable too (and to prove to some of the staff how fun it can be to interact with kids ;).
The first three clues were found in YS. The third clue made them venture beyond the Youth Services entrance and led them to the Reference Desk: “The Reference Desk is a great place to ask a question. Ask them how many books are in the library’s collection.” Reference staff would respond with the answer and provide them with their next clue. Seven more clues would lead them to other areas of the library. Some of the clues included a little known fact about the library or required the solving of a simple puzzle.
|Here's the clue|
|Here's the answer!|
The final clue, “The people that check out your books are happy folk. You can finish this hunt if you ask them for a joke!” brought the kids to the Circulation Desk where they received a joke from staff and a small treat. The Hunt was available all hours that the library was open. Over 100 people participated in the scavenger hunt in the first two days.
Library customers and staff responded with a lot of positive feedback. Several staff thanked me for the opportunity to positively interact with the kids. Adult patrons were happy to see kids excitedly searching the library for clues and commented that it was nice to see them outside of Youth Services and exploring and getting to know the rest of their library.
If you haven’t had a scavenger hunt at your library yet…DO IT!