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ERIC Number: EJ1144132
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1094-9046
The Clock Is Ticking: Library Orientation as Puzzle Room
Reade, Tripp
Knowledge Quest, v45 n5 p48-53 May-Jun 2017
Tripp Reade is the school librarian at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. This article describes how he redesigned his school's library orientation program after learning about escape rooms and a variant known as puzzle rooms. Puzzle rooms present players with a set of challenges to solve; they require "teamwork, communication, and delegation as well as critical thinking, attention to detail, and lateral thinking" (Nicholson 2015, 2). At their most elaborate, puzzle rooms offer a themed narrative that organizes a variety of clues--ciphers, symbol substitution, invisible ink--each of which contributes to the story. They differ from escape rooms in objective: not literal escape but some other victory condition, stipulated within the narrative. Reade began the redesign by identifying topics and areas to cover during the orientation and cognitive processes to challenge. Topics to cover included knowledge of the library's catalog and of the OverDrive collection, the library's virtual and physical spaces, and some of its social media presence. The list of cognitive processes to challenge included attention to detail and close reading, especially of instructions and directions, and critical and lateral thinking. The article discusses the rationale behind using puzzles in the library and the process for testing and revising the prototype. The school considered the puzzle-based orientation to be a success based on students' enthusiasm, engagement, and subsequent ability to use the catalog and find books in the collection.
American Association of School Librarians. Available from: American Library Association. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel: 1-800-545-2433; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 9; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina (Raleigh)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A