[kids-lib] Mystery Night at the Library

SAMANTHA A. WIKSTROM SWikstrom at ci.tualatin.or.us
Fri Oct 12 18:03:36 PDT 2012


Annie Lewis and I were asked to post a summary of the kid's information literacy program that we will be offering this month, and here it is.  Annie developed this program in the Spring, and had such success that Tualatin decided to offer it in conjuction with Information Literacy month.

We will be hosting a "Mystery Night at the Library!" next week as a sneaky way of teaching the use of our online resources to our elementary school aged patrons (and their parents!).  We're framing it as a mystery that the kids need to solve using their secret agent skills (i.e., their ability to use the databases and OPAC.)

We will start by forming teams (two to four kids and their parents per team).  Each team will get a toolkit which includes the questions that they will answer using our databases, a "secret message decoder sheet", library map, catalog instructions, and a few other relevant items.  Before they open their toolkits, we will demonstrate using the catalog and the children's databases to the whole crowd.  Then we will tell them to get started.

The teams will start at our public computers.  Since we are doing this after hours, all of our public computers will be available.  We will have the relevant databases pre-loaded.  Our four questions will guide the participants toward a particular database, and they can use that database get the right answer.  Once they have the answer from the database, they then need to use the catalog to find books on that topic (i.e., if the question's answer is Titantic, then the teams will move to a catalog to look up Titantic, then head to the stacks to find the kids books about the Titantic.)  Once they've found the books in the stacks, they will find their first "clue."  The clues take the form of envelopes of pre-cut letters that they can next glue onto their "secret message decoder sheet."  Once done, they move on to the second question.  You get the idea.  Eventually they'll have all the pre-cut letters glued to their decoder sheet, and the secret message will appear -- which will tell them to go to a location at the library.  When they get to the location, they will find a basket of prizes and each child can take one.

I think Annie did a fabulous job developing this program because it teaches kids three important information literacy skills:  1) using our databases effectively; 2) using our catalog and 3) locating our materials on the shelf.  Plus they learn all this while having a blast solving a mystery!

We have an exceptionally detailed outline of the prorgam if any of you are interested.

Let me or Annie know if you have any questions.

:) Samantha Wikstrom

Tualatin Public Library

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