The clues were hiding in plain view, but that didn’t make the search any easier for the library scavenger hunt.
A scavenger hunt? In a library?
Homewood Public Library’s Youth Services Associate Librarian Kelly Campos used her creative juices to design a game for participants who scoured the library for clues.
Campos loves puzzles and searches. She created her first library scavenger hunt for library staff as part of a training program. The response was so positive that Campos decided she’d try one for patrons.
The objective was to be the first team to finish. The clues—including a puzzle and a QR code—were written for teams with players of all ages, making it perfect for a family outing on a Friday evening in November.
“Scavenger hunts are pretty fun, and it’s something that includes all the kids at one time,” said Ayesha Washington of Flossmoor, who came with her three children ages 16, 12 and 6.
Campos allowed players to use the library computers but not for Internet searches. She had clues in every section of the library from board books in the children’s area to graphic novels and media offerings.
Each team got its own set of 11 questions. That meant Campos composed 55 questions. To keep the game going, each time a team answered one question, it led to the next clue. If a team was stuck, it could buy an answer, but that meant putting more time on the clock.
Linda Tatum of Glenwood realized the clock was ticking and she hadn’t gotten through her first clue: I have been around since the 11th century. I am the crossroads where the camel met the canoe. 15 degrees N X 5 degrees W. See me in a close-up.
Tatum bought the answer: Mali. Campos intended for the team to use an atlas to find the coordinates.
Another team was stuck on the phrase “…A comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush” from the children’s book “Goodnight Moon.”
The Doug Cole family of Homewood won the competition in one hour and two minutes, but their true time was 57 minutes. They tacked on another five minutes because they had to buy the answer “Fifty Shades of Grey” for the clue “10 across and five down” in the audio department. Christine Cole said they realized afterward that the paper the clue was one was printed on was colored in shades of grey.
Most of the answers she, her husband and sons, Phillip and Joseph, were able to find off the clue cards or the library’s catalog. They had a harder time in the juvenile section because of its divisions.
Jamila Yusuf of Markham came with her daughters ages 14, 12, 9 and 8. They were doing well but got stumped on a few clues, including one that dealt with the movie “Tron.” In the end, other participants helped the family with an answer. They took third place.
“Some clues were difficult and some were average. Kelly is so creative to come up with all those clues,” Yusuf said.
“We would absolutely do (the hunt) again,” Christine Cole said, “but the next time, I think we’d split up (our family)” to add to the competition.
Campos admits it is “difficult to find a balance between pop culture, library culture and learning,” but she was happy with the way the scavenger hunt turned out. She is thinking about the next game, probably in late spring.
Photos by Marilyn Thomas/HF Chronicle.