Posts tagged ‘YA’

Book to Movie Display

One of my most popular book displays was my first display with 3D elements that looked good enough to eat! I chose to highlight books being made into movies in the coming year or being released on DVD soon. I added 3D popcorn and a few other fun elements to liven it up.

Mystery Display

The first display I did at my new branch was quite some time ago. After a bit of a delay, I’m finally showing off my handiwork. I was asked to make a YA mystery display.

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them

With the approach of the DVD release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, I wanted to do a fantasy display with a catchy phrase, so I chose to tie it all together. Once again, I had to add a few 3D elements with the fire, dragon, and sword in the stone to my display to make it jump off the page.

Teen Romance Display

Before we reopened my branch after renovation and inventory, I decided to change out the YA displays that had been up for a while. I decided with spring upon us, summer romance was on everyone’s mind.

Divergent Party

I wanted to do a program for the upcoming release of the Insurgent movie, so I decided to throw a Divergent party! This was actually my last young adult program at this branch. I’m leaving this position next week, so, though this was a very fun program, it was also bittersweet.

I wanted to design a party similar to the Harry Potter program from last month so that the teens could have a few options for activities and float around to whatever struck their fancy.

I started with a sorting station with a laptop on which I’d pulled up the official faction sorting quiz on the Divergent website. Next to it, I placed some Hershey’s miniatures that were marked for each faction. I got the idea from Inksplasher, but sadly their printable doesn’t work, so I had to format the wrappers myself which involved a bit of trial and error.

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After they were sorted, we had a table for each faction with decorations and an activity inspired by the manifesto of each group as well as their element (i.e. blue water for Erudite, soil for Amity, glass for Candor, fire/charcoal for Dauntless, and stone for Abnegation). First, we had our Dauntless. I decided that since Dauntless values bravery with a bit of recklessness, we would sum that up with truth or dare.

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We also would have done temporary tattoos here, but I had the brilliant idea to buy tattoo transfer paper on Amazon to print out our own instead of buying pre-made tattoos, and ($19 later) I discovered that the inkjet transfer paper doesn’t work even when you follow all the instructions.

Then, we had Abnegation. Since Abnegation is all about selflessly serving others, I decided we’d have a card making station for soldiers serving overseas.

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Next was the Amity station. I decided we’d sum up friendship with a friendship bracelet making station.

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Then came Erudite with a bit of trivia as well as some free bookmarks for our friends who value knowledge above all else.

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Finally, we had Candor with a game of would you rather which forced the players to be honest about their choices and summed up the emphasis on honesty perfectly.

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For our Divergent table (for those who fit into more than one faction), we had Cranium since it basically combined all the different factions. If you’re not familiar with Cranium, it is like Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, charades, and a few other games all rolled into one.

Overall, this was a pretty cheap program. I think the total (minus the tattoo transfer paper that didn’t work) was about $20, and we had a nice turnout since I timed it so close to the movie release.


Family Feud

My teens love game show programs as we saw with my Minute to Win It program. We’ve done Jeopardy at my branch in the past, so I wanted to find a new game show to do to keep interest up (and because I was personally a little burned out on Jeopardy). When I brought up the idea of Family Feud, there was a lot of excitement, so I went for it. It was a very easy and very cheap program. I just spent about $5 on snacks and drinks from the dollar store and about $5 on prizes (which weren’t even necessary since we don’t typically give out prizes to winners at competition programs; instead they usually “win” the thrill of victory).

For this program, I found a pre-made Family Feud Powerpoint here. I used the first one, but I’ll tell you now that it’s a bit difficult. You have to follow their instructions precisely on the site, and you can’t edit it to have more or fewer answers than are already displayed. So, you have to make sure you’re using questions with the same number of answers when you plug in your own. In addition, there’s a bit of a glitch where it will show all the answers for a split second when you go to a new round before covering them up. I had to get a bit creative here and made signs that everyone had to put up in front of their faces whenever I switched slides. It can be a bit glitchy on some computers too, so make sure to test it on the computer you’ll be using. Other than that, however, it worked great! It looked very realistic, and everyone loved the music and animation.

For my questions, I did not go out and poll 100 people. There are a couple of sites who have already done this, and I just used the questions and answers I thought my teens would be more likely to know (and which were appropriate) to plug into my Powerpoint. Here’s one site, and here’s another.

Overall, it was a very popular program with one of my highest turnouts ever!

Stained Glass Ornaments

My December YA program was very simple. I’ve never been big on craft programs because most of the crafts I like and think the teens like have been done to death (tie dye, jewelry, etc.) or are not very inclusive for the guys in the group. So, when I wanted to do a craft program, I wanted to do something very different. Well, that didn’t necessarily happen since almost every library offers an ornament decorating program (my branch alone offered two–one for adults and my program for teens). However, I decided we should do something new that I’d just learned about.

Alcohol inks are the craft supplies for the crafting impaired. (Yes, I include myself among that number.) It’s virtually impossible to screw it up, but if you manage to do it (I did), you just use the blending solution to wipe away the mess and start all over. There’s virtually no wasted supplies! That definitely appealed to me.

So, I went out and bought 3 packs of various colored alcohol inks and metallic mixers as well as two containers of alcohol inks. I’m not going to lie. This was a fairly expensive program. I think the total for ink and other alcohol ink supplies was about $40 or more at Hobby Lobby (our Michaels didn’t carry alcohol inks and the people at Joann’s didn’t know what I was even talking about when I asked). I ended up saving money by using leftover bulbs from the other ornament decorating program at my branch. So, my total for this program was about $45 with snacks.

If you’re not familiar with alcohol inks, I’d suggest reading up on them at All Thumbs Crafts, Art Without Anxiety, or By Stephanie Lynn. Then practice, practice, practice. There are a bunch of techniques, and each one turns out differently, so you’ll want a few examples and a few tips and tricks to pass along during the program.

Because the inks themselves were so expensive (and I have read that you can make your own from permanent markers or something and that certain rubbing alcohols can be replaced for the blending solution but I didn’t try it because I know my luck at trying to be cheap with things like this and my budget last semester allowed me to use the real stuff), I ordered a box of gloves from the programming department for free to make sure my teens didn’t get the ink on their hands (because it is a big pain to get off, believe me!) and made my own applicators from extra felt scraps left over from making flannels and handles made from cardboard scraps. You can also use felt attached to a stamp base, but I didn’t have those on hand this time.

Then, I warned the kids to wear old clothes, put out some snacks, set up the work stations with q-tips, cotton balls, some applicators, bowls for mixing the metallic additives, a pie plate to work over, lots of newspaper and wax paper, and let the teens get creative. There were some really beautiful pieces made at this program (much better than I made during my experiments), and the teens seemed to really enjoy it.

Hunger Games Challenge

I’ve been wanting to do a Hunger Games program for a while. I had recently planned a Hunger Games Boat Float program, and it was a big hit! So, I wanted a follow-up program for the release of Mockingjay Part 1 in November. I brainstormed and brainstormed, trying to come up with a unique idea. Finally, I stumbled upon a pre-made Hunger Games program that was along the lines of a choose your own adventure, so I decided to adapt it. Here is the original (with pictures), and below is my adaptation. I changed a few words, added a bit of storyline, added an obstacle course at the end to make it more interactive, and added survival skills questions to help those who may not have chosen wisely at the beginning of the game.

To play, you’ll simply follow the instructions in the beginning and then read anything that isn’t in parentheses, following the instructions as you go along. It’s a fairly easy program, but you may need an assistant to help keep score, set up, ask survival skills questions, etc.


Directions:  Gather or make the items listed for the Cornucopia.  Place them in the center of a large room.  Divide the students into two teams, one team on each end of the room.   At the word “GO!” one student from each team runs up and grabs any one item they choose from the cornucopia.  They run back to slap the hand of another teammate, who runs to the cornucopia to grab another item.  This continues until all players have 2 items (for 6 or fewer participants).  Then, as a teacher reads the following scenarios, if a team has the specifically mentioned item that will help them survive, they hold it in the air to claim the points indicated in the script. Though your team gets the points for your item, the items belong to each individual who grabbed them. The team with the most points wins!


The Cornucopia:

Water, Medicine, Hammer, Knife, Bread, Bow and Arrow, Boots, Blanket, Flashlight, Anti-venom, Shield, Sword, Rope, Crackers, Matches, Beef strips, Water container, Wire for traps, Slingshot, Sleeping bag, Book about edible plants, Blue tarp, Fire starters, Band aids, Sheet

(I ended up making a lot of this out of cardboard and painting it myself.)


Day 1 in the Arena:

Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. As the countdown ends, the fighting immediately breaks out for resources. You see one of your opponents go down in the struggle. Do you escape unscathed? (Each team must select one player to “battle” the selected player from the other team. These two players will come to the center of the room to be given a spoon with a plastic egg or an orange on it. They must try to knock their opponent’s orange off their spoon without losing their own. If both players lose their oranges/eggs, they will both lose 5 points for injuries sustained through battle. The winner would receive 5 points for a rush of adrenaline.)

You have been told to get water, but you didn’t want to fight your way into the cornucopia to get it.  Luckily, you found a stream. Five points (each) for having a bottle of water and/or container to carry water it in.

You had no idea the nights here would be so cold.  Five points if you have a blanket, sleeping bag, sheet or tarp.


Day 2 in the Arena. 

You didn’t eat yesterday and now you are starving.  Five points for having a book about edible plants, and 5 points for wire, because you can set a trap.  Also five points for having a bow and arrow, hammer, slingshot, knife or sword.

You have caught a rabbit stuck in the bushes, but you will not eat it raw.  Five points for matches, or a fire starter.

You kick dirt on top of the fire when you are done cooking, but the smoke alerts the Career Pack, and now they are chasing you through the forest. Five points for having water, because you can make mud to camouflage yourself as you hide in the bushes.

Unfortunately, the bushes have thorns, and you find yourself bleeding all over.  Five points for Band-aids and/or medicine for your wounds.  (If they don’t have either, they can answer a question to get medicine from a sponsor or lose 5 points for infection.)

It seems as if your pursuers will never leave, and they are so close you can hear everything they say.  Suddenly, all of them leave except one.  If you just had a weapon, you could hit him easily.  Five points for a slingshot or bow and arrow.  (The player with the bow and arrow will “battle” a player from the opposite team at “Fire, Beast, Tribute.” The winner survives and takes the loser’s item for their team as well as 5 points.)

You decide to run before the group comes back and finds a lifeless body.  You head out into a desert area, where rocks are as sharp as broken glass.  Ten points for having a pair of boots because you can run faster.  Suddenly, a rattlesnake slithers out in front of you, and you can’t stop running in time.  You step squarely on it, and it turns and bites you… hard.  Fifteen points for anti-venom, which you apply immediately.  (The team that doesn’t have the anti-venom can have a chance to win some from their sponsors by answering a survival skill trivia question. If they answer incorrectly, they will lose 10 points.

You know you have to get somewhere safe immediately, so you crawl into a shallow cave to wait while you hope the anti-venom works.  Ten points for a sleeping bag or blanket to roll yourself up in, to prevent shock. (Lose 5 points if you have none of those things.)

Apparently you have been unconscious for quite a while, but when you wake up you feel better; just unbelievably hungry. You are not strong enough to walk on your own and certainly you can’t hunt.  But you need food fast.  Five points (each) for having bread, crackers, beef strips, or a book about edible plants, because you aren’t sure if the berries you collected earlier are safe to eat or not.


Day 3 in the Arena:

You fashion a crutch for yourself out of a tree limb with your tools.  You’re glad you still have your knife or sword (five points for either) to cut the extra branches off.  Your foot is too swollen for your shoe, but you tear up the sheet (five points) and tie the strips over your foot to protect it as you move to a better cave.

However, you are not the only one to choose this cave!  You are shocked to discover there is a family of wolves here also, and the mother wolf is going to fiercely protect her pups.  You grab your shield to fend off her attacks (five points) then grab your hammer, sword or knife (ten points for any of those).  (The team without the shield can answer a trivia question so that their character might find a suitable piece of bark to use in lieu of one if they get it right. If they get it wrong, they will lose 10 points due to an injury.) You are fast with a weapon, and the wolf is now lying, bleeding, at your feet.  Quickly, you use your knife or sword (five points each) to cut the meat into strips.  You use your fire starter or matches (ten points each) to build a fire out of the nearby brush, and you roast the meat to save for later.  However, you know the smell of meat will attract more animals.  You wrap the meat in a sheet (five points) and suspend it from a tree with part of your rope (five points) to keep it protected from carnivores. (If they don’t have a rope or a sheet, they can answer a survival question to determine if they are able to fashion a sling for the meat from vines. If not, they’ll lose 5 points and their food.)

Your water bottle is dry so you must set off again in search of water.  Your foot is not so swollen now, so you put on your shoes (5 points) to head back outside in search of water.  As you go, the desert gives way to rolling hills and thorny brush.  Suddenly, you hear geese overhead, and you draw your bow and arrow (5 points) to try to shoot one down.  An excellent shot, you have just added some food and juicy meat to your supply.  You take the other part of your rope (5 points) and tie the goose to your waist so you can eat it later. (If they don’t have a bow and arrow, they’ll answer a question to see if they can catch an animal to eat in a snare they set up with natural materials. If not, they’ll lose 5 points for hunger.)

Higher up you go into the hills, and the weather gets colder.  You reach for your blanket (5 points) to put around your shoulders.  It starts to rain.  You use your shield to gather rainwater (5 points), then pour it into your empty container (5 points) while keeping your body dry by using the tarp (5 points) as a raincoat. (If they don’t have a container, they can answer a trivia question to see if they can find a stream nearby. If not, they’ll lose 5 points for thirst.)

You hear the sound of the Career pack again, and you know you have to hide, quickly!  But in climbing a tree, you scrape skin off your knees so you are bleeding heavily.  Five points for medicine that will prevent an infection, and/or for band-aids that will keep the wound clean.  (If one team doesn’t have either, they can answer a question for a gift from their sponsors plus 5 or if they get it wrong, they’ll lose 5 points for infection.) Unfortunately, your blue tarp gives you away.  (Deduct 15 points!) The group of vicious players has spotted you in the tree, but you are quicker than they are.  You throw down your hammer (5 points) to knock one of them out. Your slingshot is no use, because you have no rocks, but your bow and arrow is a great weapon.  You have only three arrows, but they all hit their mark and now you are safe. (15 points.) (The team without the bow and arrow can answer a question to drop a bunch of tracker jackers on them. If they answer incorrectly, they must lose 10 points due to hunger from having to wait out the Career pack.)

As night falls, you return to your cave.  Your flashlight (5 points) helps you see that there are no animals in there anymore.  You make a fire with your fire-starter or matches (five points for either) for warmth and cooking, and you roast the goose you shot earlier.  After your supper, you add the meat to your sheet-bag (5 points), and go to sleep thankful that your goose has been cooked.


Day 4 in the Arena

Your competition is dwindling and the gamemakers make an announcement that you will find things that you need at the cornucopia in an attempt to lure you back together and get the fighting started again. Though you know this is likely a trap, you also know that you need more supplies to survive in the arena for the rest of the game. So, you stake out in a tree to check if the coast is clear. You notice from your excellent vantage point that there is a slight disturbance in the air as if the arena had been altered in some way. You’re sure this is a trap, and your suspicions are confirmed as you see one of the few remaining tributes run past your tree only to be electrocuted by a force field that certainly wasn’t there when the games began. Now that you’re aware of what you’re facing, it’s time to make your way toward the cornucopia and the supplies you need, knowing that you are one of the few who remain in the arena. (The players who remain “alive” at this point in the game will complete a relay race obstacle course to get more supplies from the arena. If they touch any of the obstacles, their team will lose points (5 points per infraction) and they will “die.” After the obstacle course, we will tally the points and determine a winner. If there is a tie, we will resolve it through Fire, Beast, Tribute.)

We used a variety of obstacles for our course. They began by balancing a book on their head and hopping from one circle on the floor to another. Then, they had to complete a maze we’d printed off the computer. Then, they had to spin around on a bat 3 times and run to another station that had Hunger Games themed word searches. After finding 3 words, they then had to crawl through a bunch of yarn laced between chairs without touching the yarn itself. Then, they could grab an item from the cornucopia, run back across the room and tag the next person to complete the obstacle course from their team.



Fire, Beast, Tribue:

This game is played like “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”  However, this is played Hunger Games style!  The three items are “Fire, Beast, Tribute.”

  • Fire beats Beast
  • Beast beats Tribute
  • Tribute beats Fire
  • Fire– Fingers pointed up and spirit fingers
  • Beast– Claw motion
  • Tribute– 2 for two legs



Survival Skills Questions:

Q: Why should you melt snow or ice before drinking it when trying to survive in the wild?
A: To prevent dehydration. The cold will reduce your core temperature and lead to dehydration. 

Q: If you are walking toward the sun at noon in the Northern Hemisphere, in which direction are you walking?
A: South.


Q: Which of the following cannot be used to orient you to true North: anthills, wind direction, or moss?
A: Wind direction. Moss is always on the northern side of trees, and anthills are always on the south or southeastern side of trees.

Q: Why shouldn’t you sleep directly on the ground?
A: To avoid loss of body heat.


Q: If you’re looking for bugs to eat, which of these traits should you look for: brightly colored, six-legged, or hairy.
A: Six-legged. Most insects are edible and a good source of protein. 

Q: Which of these features can you use to determine if a snake is poisonous: tail, tongue, or eyes?
A: Eyes. Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils and non-venomous tend to have round. 

Q: What can you use to determine how far away a storm is from your currently location?
A: The time distance between the lightning flash and the thunder.


Q: Approximately how long can the average human live without food if they are properly hydrated? 3 weeks, 1 week, or 9 days?
A: 3 weeks.


Q: Which of the following is considered the best way to make water safe to drink? Strain it using cloth, leave it in the sun so the UV rays can kill microorganisms, or boil it?
A: Boil it
Q: Which list of survival tasks is prioritized in the correct order? A. Address injuries, build shelter, build fire, locate water, locate food; B. Build shelter, build fire, address injuries, locate water, locate food; C. Locate water, build shelter, address injuries, build fire, locate food; or D. Address injuries, build shelter, locate water, locate food, build fire.
A: A. Address injuries, build shelter, build fire, locate water, locate food

True or false: Plants are the best sources of nutrition for an ordinary person in a survival situation?
A: False (unless they are a botanist or have a guide book, the risk of poisoning is too high).

Which of the following should be avoided when selecting an area upon which to build a shelter? A. It must be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably, B. Should be directly next to a river—water is vital, C. Provides protection against wild animals and rocks and dead trees and that might fall, or D. it must contain enough material to construct the type of shelter you need.
A: B. Should be directly next to a river—water is vital. Many rivers are prone to flash floods. Your shelter should be close enough to water to allow access but far enough away to keep you safe in case of a flood.

True or false: You are walking through the woods and encounter a bear. The best course of action is to run.
A: False. You should never run from a bear (unless you are with a partner that runs more slowly than you do). You should back away slowly and avoid eye contact.

Q: It’s a cold, dark night in the woods and you are exhausted after walking all day. You build a quick shelter and find yourself falling asleep. What should you do? A. Stay awake—if you fall asleep you’ll freeze to death, B. Get up and start walking again, or C. Go ahead and fall asleep. A: C. Go ahead and fall asleep. If you get too cold, you’ll wake yourself up by shivering involuntarily. Only in the later stages of hypothermia do you have to worry about falling unconscious and dying.

Q: Which of the following is not a method to light a fire without a match? A. The soda can and chocolate method, B. the battery method, or C. the animal dung method?
A: C. The animal dung method.

Q: Which of these wild berries are safe when ripe and cooked, but can cause nausea when eaten off of the bush? A. Elderberries, B. golden currants, or C. Raspberries
A: A. Elderberries


This was a pretty easy and cheap program. I believe the total budget was about $20 (including snacks). I did have a lot of the items I needed for the cornucopia, though. So, if you aren’t as lucky, it might be a bit more expensive. Then again, there’s always the option of making them yourself like I did with the hammer, slingshot, and knife.

Hunger Games Boat Float

This program fit into the water unit in the Teen Reading Program 2014. The basic idea for this program was mentioned at the summer reading training program we attended in the spring, but the former youth facilitator and I decided to expand the idea to make it more interesting.

The basic premise is that the teens will compete to make a boat out of recycled materials provided in the program. This boat must float longer than their competitors’, and, if there is a tie, quarters will be added one at a time until the weight causes one boat to sink and a winner is declared.

But that would be too simple. So, we decided to shake things up with a Hunger Games theme!

In the center of the room, we put a cornucopia of recycled materials. Around the cornucopia, we set up work stations for the teams of teens. Each work station had an equal number of recycled materials that they could use as well as anything they would accumulate throughout the game. We chose to give each team a DVD case, two paperclips, two glue dots, scissors, two 6-inch pieces of string in a bag as well as paper and a pencil for sketching plans. You could also assign your teams district numbers and have a bag with their corresponding number in the cornucopia with their allotted materials inside.

In our cornucopia, we had an empty stapler, egg cartons, cardboard, strips of leather, string, tape, and anything else would could find that might float or help attach the materials to one another. It was covered with a tarp when the teens arrived.

Once the teens arrived, we explained the rules for the game:

  1. You are the build a boat that floats with the help of your team Each boat must be made from at least six materials that are attached to each other, and the boat must be made within the twenty-five minute time allotment.
  2. If there is a tie and more than one boat floats, quarters will be added to weigh down the boats, and the last remaining boat floating will win.
  3. Each team has been equipped with equal resources to begin with, and they will each be given six inches of tape. You must use everything in your bag.
  4. Each group may take up to five items from the cornucopia after the countdown to bring back to their station and use to build their boat.
  5. Teams may barter with one another for assistance and to procure other materials.
  6. You may only use materials provided for this project–you cannot use anything you may happen to have with you.
  7. There are surprises hidden around the room that may help you accomplish your task. If you find one, present it to the Game Maker (a.k.a. Me) so that you can use your advantage.
  8. There will also be help from “sponsors” throughout the game, just as in The Hunger Games.

Then, we asked for questions, unveiled the cornucopia, and counted down from 5 before the participants could begin choosing their items. After that, the building commenced!

Some of the cards we hid around the room included:

  • You’ve been injured in an attack. You’re stunned and dizzy. (Each person on your team must do three spins around a bat before continuing to work.)
  • You managed to trap a rabbit for dinner using only some sticks and a vine. Good job! (Add 5 minutes to your time allotment.)
  • You’ve received a gift from your sponsor (We hid three of these and gave out gifts randomly like extra tape, glue, staples for the empty stapler that was in the cornucopia, pipe cleaners, brads, string, or extra paper clips.)
  • You managed to steal one of your opponent’s weapons while they were sleeping. (Take one item from an opposing team to build your float.)
  • Under the cover of darkness, you manage to sneak back to the cornucopia to replenish your supplies. (Take another item from the cornucopia to build your float.)
  • Either your mentor is mad at you or your sponsors are clueless. You’ve just received a worthless gift. (Get a bag of heavy coins from the Game Maker that you must incorporate into your float.)
  • The other tributes snuck up on you while you were sleeping, and you were seriously injured. (You’ve lost the use of your left hand for the rest of the game. We forced this teen to wear an oven mitt on their left hand to ensure they didn’t use it.)
  • You’ve managed to steal some game from one of the other tribute’s traps, benefitting you and sabotaging them. (You can give one of your materials to another team that they must use to make their boat.)

After their twenty-five to thirty (depending on the cards they drew) time allotment was over, we had them put their boats in a bin of water to determine which floated.

Even though I planned this program, I was unable to be there when it took place. I heard that the teens loved it, and when they saw that I was doing a Hunger Games program for the fall semester, they wanted to know if we were repeating this program because it was so much fun. Everyone kept telling me it was a huge hit!


This program was created and executed by myself and the former youth facilitator at my branch. It was held as our Halloween program in 2013. Since then, some of the notes have gone missing, so I am creating this post based on what survived and memory.

We chose to do a library themed live-action Clue game with our teens last year. First, we had to choose our suspects, weapons, and locations. We chose the following suspects:

  • Dr. John Watson
  • Harry Potter
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Lady Guinevere
  • President Snow (from The Hunger Games trilogy)
  • Mrs. Marisa Coulter (from the His Dark Materials trilogy)

We found pictures of each suspect and created what we called character cards for each player (you could also separate your teens into teams if you have too many participants for the six suspects). On these character cards, which we handed out shortly after the program began, we put pertinent information they would need marking it for them to keep hidden from the other players or to reveal it at a certain moment in the game. We’ll return to these cards later in this post.

Then, we decided to select weapons found in the library since it would be the scene of the crime:

  • Stapler
  • Hole Punch
  • Book Cart
  • World Atlas
  • Scissors
  • Cake Pan (Our system circulates cake pans, and it was a new feature we wanted to display for this program. You might choose a pencil or something else found at your branch if you choose to do this program.)

Finally, we looked at the layout of our branch and selected the areas where we could play the game without disturbing patrons to be used as our locations for the game:

  • Kitchen
  • Children’s Room
  • Cataloging
  • Meeting Room
  • Young Adult Section
  • Office

Once we had all that established, we could move on to the more intricate parts of our game. You see, we wanted it to be more interactive than simply walking to the various locations throughout the library and making guesses. We wanted there to be a motive that the teens had to deduce along with the weapon, murderer, and location like Clue usually requires. Below, you’ll find each suspect’s potential motive for killing the librarian and the information we included on their character cards:


  • Dr. John Watson: Motive–To protect his friend Sherlock Holmes
    Character Card: (Warning: DO NOT share this information with the other teams.) Mr. Watson was undoubtedly loyal to his friend and mentor, Detective Holmes. So, when Holmes was publically reprimanded and his account was blocked, both Holmes and Watson were visibly distressed.
  • Harry Potter: Motive–To end his feud long-standing feud with the librarian and end her tyranny once and for all
    Character Card: (Warning: DO NOT share this information with the other teams.) Everyone knows Harry and the librarian had a long-standing feud. He found her incessant Shh-ing irritating, and she found his Abracadabra practices in public places both annoying and disrespectful.

  • Dr. Seuss: Motive–To play “harmless” tricks on the librarian to get her to lighten up
    Character Card: (Warning: DO NOT share this information with the other teams.) The good doctor could not understand why the librarian insisted on conforming to every rule and procedure and often acted out in blatant rebellion. The harmless tricks took a sinister turn when Seuss began tinkering with library equipment.

  • Lady Guinevere: Motive–To get revenge on the librarian for humiliating her by throwing her out of the library
    Character Card: (Warning: DO NOT share this information with the other teams.) Guinevere was known for using her good looks and charm to pit young men against one another. One time, while two potential suitors dueled for her affection, a fire alarm was accidentally sounded, and the librarian was forced to throw all three parties out of the building at once. Guinevere never recovered from the public embarrassment.

  • President Snow: Motive–To seek revenge against the librarian for not allowing him to censor books he found to be offensive
    Character Card: (Warning: DO NOT share this information with the other teams.)  The trouble started when the librarian fined President Snow for blacking out entire passages in books he found to be a threat to the Capital.

  • Mrs. Marisa Coulter: Motive–To stop the librarian from including texts that she deemed unsuitable and undermined her research.
    Character Card: (Warning: DO NOT share this information with the other teams.) Everyone would agree that Mrs. Coulter devoted her life to the process of intercision. After discovering that the librarian had undermined its necessity, she flew into a rage and immediately sent an angry letter to the Magisterium.
    Once the information above is revealed to all the other players, displace the blame by reading the following:
    “What about Lady Guinevere?!?! Wasn’t there an incident last week where the librarian had to kick her out for sounding an alarm? She looked mortified, and pretty ticked off!”

Before our teens arrived, we set up each location with one weapon and hid clues we’d created that would point toward each suspect’s motive. When they arrived, we had a quick meal of pizza in the meeting room and handed out the cards while we waited for someone to discover the body. Finally, someone ran in to announce that a librarian had been murdered. We ushered the teens to the place where the body had been discovered, reminding them that even though it was in the office, the body may have been moved. Then, we explained how the game would work and that the team who discovered the guilty person, the location of the murder, the murder weapon, and the murderer’s motive would win. We handed out the suspect, weapon, and location cards just like the board game Clue (each team got a random assortment of three cards that they could use to eliminate possibilities). You’ll note from the character cards that even the murderer might not know they were guilty so they could play along too.

After that, we began our game. Since we were in the office already, we allowed the teens to search the area for clues if they wished. One teen unearthed a Darth Vader cake pan, and another found incident report made by the librarian about Detective Holmes who had made a scene at the library after he was told he had a late fee. He had apparently jumped on top of a table and given the rest of the patrons a loud and irritable lecture about overthrowing the tyranny of the librarian. The incident report also stated that Detective Holmes was asked to leave along with his friend Dr. Watson who had stepped in and become upset on behalf of his friend.

We gave the teams some time to make notes and gave the first team (Dr. Watson) a chance to make a guess including the location, suspect, and weapon (but not the motive) just as one would do in the board game version of Clue. The team to their left attempted to disprove them. If they couldn’t with the cards they were given in the beginning of the game, the next team to the left attempted to disprove their guess, and so on until one card was produced to prove their guess was inaccurate.

Next, we took the teens to the children’s room. We’d also put one of the weapons (the stapler) nearby. When we entered, we said something to lead the teens to look for the clue. I don’t quite remember the wording, but it hinted at the feud between the librarian and the boy who lived. Eventually one of the teens figured out that we were talking about Harry Potter and looked for the books from the series on the shelf. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, they found a piece of paper that had been crumpled up and defaced. It was a note from the librarian to Harry Potter informing him in no uncertain terms that she had warned him for the last time about his antics in the library and that, if she had to take further action, he would be permanently banned from the library. We gave the teams some time to make notes and gave the next team (Harry Potter) a chance to make a guess.

Then, we moved to the young adult section which was hiding a pair of scissors and a clue about President Snow hidden in Mockingjay. Again, we gave the teens a hint about where they might find a clue by saying something about a text that had been defaced because it was incriminating to President Snow. One of the teens took the book down and found a photo copy of the passage about President Snow killing his enemies to be blacked out. There was also a sticky note from the librarian informing Snow that he would have to pay for a replacement and that his account was blocked until he did so. We gave the teens some time to jot down some notes and allowed the next team (Dr. Seuss) to make a guess.

We moved into the kitchen after there where a note was stuck to the refrigerator. The teens found it right away along with the atlas laid on the table. The note was from Mrs. Coulter to the Magestrium. In it, Marisa discussed the librarian’s inclusion of books into the collection that argued that intercision was unnecessary and brutal. After it was read to the group, Mrs. Coulter’s team did as they were instructed on their character card and turned the blame to Lady Guinevere by exposing her expulsion from the library the week prior. After that, the teens took notes and the next team (Lady Guinevere) was allowed to make their guess.

Cataloging was our last step for clues. Right when we walked in, someone spotted a red and white hat reminiscent of The Cat in the Hat and figured the clue incriminating Dr. Seuss was underneath it. When they found a journal made from Green Eggs and Ham, they knew they were correct. Inside, they found plans for tinkering with library equipment and a passage expressing a desire for the librarian to lighten up. Another teen found the hole punch nearby while everyone else took notes. President Snow’s team was allowed to make a guess, and then we all moved back to the meeting room.

There, we found the book cart, and Mrs. Coulter’s team was allowed to make their guess. We sat down to finish the pizza, formulate theories, and allow the teams to make another guess if they wished. Then, anyone with an accusation (a guess with the room, suspect, weapon, and motive) could make it. If they were wrong, their team lost. If they were right, they won the game.

In the end, we chose for Dr. Seuss to be the unlikely murderer with the book cart in the office. None of our teens guessed it, but they had a great time playing detective and came very close. All they were missing was the location.

We managed to do this entire program in an hour, but I would highly suggest at least giving yourself an hour and a half because we were very rushed. I also feel sure that the teens would have gotten the answer correct if they had more time to make guesses and process the information.

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