Local librarian to present escape room projects at state conference
STEAM programming for teens, reader’s advisory and so much more.
This year, however, is slightly different. I will be presenting one of these hourlong sessions.
My session is called “Escape Rooms: Where Do I Even Start?!” and I created it to be a helpful step-by-step guide to assist librarians who have little or no prior experience create escape rooms.
In the past few years, escape rooms have become immensely popular around the world. Businesses have been popping up where you can pay to experience various themed escape rooms. Last year, I wanted to create an escape room for teens at the William Jeanes Memorial Library. When I was trying to determine what theme to go with, I went with one of my favorite book series of all time, Harry Potter. From scratch, I created a Harry Potter-themed escape room, and on one (very hectic) day in January of this year, I had almost 40 teens experience the program.
After that day I uploaded the clues, notes, pictures and plans to a Facebook group for librarians. Ever since then, I have gotten messages from other librarians who have recreated my room at their libraries. Some have kept closer to my original plan, and some changed details, such as props. I loved seeing how each librarian recreated the room in his or her own way. I have estimated that over 500 people have enjoyed some version of my Harry Potter escape room, and I have even received a message from a librarian in Finland who recreated it there!
I will tell you right now … creating an escape room from scratch is hard. As the teen librarian for the past three years, I have created, planned and implemented dozens of events, and none of them are like creating escape rooms. Creating an escape room involves so much time and energy that it can be extremely daunting for someone to create their own (I know I was overwhelmed!). That is why I decided to create my step-bystep guide and submit it for consideration to present at PALA. I’m extremely happy that my submission was selected. One of my favorite parts about being a librarian is being able to share ideas with others all over the world!
Aside from the Harry Potter-themed escape room, I also created a “Stranger Things”-themed escape room that I held at the end of August. (If you missed it, I’ll be holding it again on Saturday, Oct. 20!) I’ll be detailing my experience creating both of these escape rooms in my presentation at PALA.
I am honored to be able to represent William Jeanes Memorial Library at this statewide conference, and I am excited to see what other escape room creations are in my future!
Sara Huff is the teen librarian at the William Jeanes Memorial Library and Nicholas & Athena Karabots Center for Learning, 4051 Joshua Road, Lafayette Hill.