Students putting together the clues and trying to beat the clock.
Earlier this semester, University Libraries’ Undergraduate Engagement team hosted their first Escape the Library event for Freshman Interest Group (FIG) students. The horror-themed escape room was custom-made to teach undergraduate students basic research skills, educate them on library resources, and foster collaboration. We targeted FIG students because they are in smaller classes and would most benefit from such a unique and focused learning experience. We also wanted these students to think of the library as not only a place to study, but a fun and engaging information hub.
More than 90 students participated in the 20-minute game, solving clues to open a lockbox containing a hidden secret about Strozier Library. Students were split into groups of 4 to 5 students to foster collaboration and team building. The game clues required students to collaborate in order to hone their research skills such as finding a database, using appropriate keywords within a search, and filtering through results. We integrated literature from the horror genre within the search results to create a themed atmosphere matching the Halloween holiday. Students also engaged in the Ask a Librarian chat feature and were tasked with searching for a book on the shelf. We wanted to keep the game educational yet entertaining.
In a post-event survey, students reported feeling informed, educated, and collaborative after participating in the escape room. Many felt they successfully built skills finding a database, finding articles using OneSearch through the libraries’ homepage, and how to find a book in the library’s physical collection. Most of all, the students overall indicated they had fun participating in the game and noted it might be useful for other students.
Based on this success the Undergraduate Engagement team is planning to host another Escape the Library event sometime in February. Unlike the Fall experience this escape room will be open to all students through registration. Get your team together now and keep an eye out for a registration link soon!