Monday, January 6, 2014

The Great Book Character Hunt

I've been doing a little searching about ideas for passive programming -- where I set something up and then the program essentially runs itself. Working only 20-22 hours each week, and overseeing all youth services (babies through teens), I don't have a ton of time for active programs (though I'm getting better and my weeks are running more and more efficiently!).

A scavenger hunt seemed to be an easy place to start. I found lots of ideas online, and ended up going with a children's book themed hunt.
"Hidden around the bottom floor of the Alvah N. Belding Library are 10 pictures of book characters. Find each one, write their name on the paper below, and turn it in. Correct guesses will win a prize from our treasure box!"

"*All pictures can be found on the bottom level of the library, in places accessible to everyone while the library is open (not in the bathrooms, club room, etc.)* This edition of the hunt ends on November 30."

(all of our kids books are on the lower level of the library and the adult books are on the main level)

Then I hid ten pictures of common book characters! They were in easy spots like on the shelf endcaps, and in hard spots like under a table. I included the location/call number of each character, so kids could go and look up the character's name if they didn't know it already.
I ran this hunt for a month. Whenever I was working I just let the kids turn in their forms directly to me and choose a prize (old Summer Reading trinkets) right away. When I wasn't there, the kids put their forms in a big container by the display.

When the day came that the hunt was over, I removed all of the character pictures and re-designed the display.
"THANK YOU to all who participated!!! If your list is taped up on the window, please take it down and bring it to a library staff person to get your prize! "

Those who had turned in their form to the container while I wasn't around got their paper taped to the window. They could then still turn it in and receive a prize from the treasure box.

Overall I think this passive program went amazing. I had about 40 kids turn in a paper, which is huge for us. Even though it was geared toward elementary age kids, it was fun to see even the teenagers get into it just so they could get a prize. I was always willing to give hints if needed ("you're looking for number 3? she's hiding on one of the bottom shelves in non-fiction...").

I will probably do this again in the spring, maybe in April or May during our transitions from school-year to summer reading. Or maybe I'll do it throughout our Summer Reading Program. It only took a little bit of prep work, and then I got to enjoy some interactions with kids that I normally wouldn't have.

What are some of your favorite passive programs?


  1. This sounds like it was a fun activity -- thank you for sharing!

  2. do you happen to have a file you could share of the the characters you used?