Friday, November 16, 2012

Murder Mystery at the Library!

Our teens have been begging for a murder mystery at the library for quite some time. With this year's Teen Read Week theme being "It Came From The Library" I thought it was finally time to attempt one.

The teen patrons at my library are very tricky creatures. We have continuously tried to do monthly programs, everything from anime to writing clubs to book chats, and they have all failed pretty miserably. One month we might have ten teens and the next we'll have zero. All of our monthly programs are based on ideas teens had suggested, so it's difficult to pinpoint what the problem is.

I've come to the conclusion that the teens in this area are simply over-programmed. One month they might be free to attend the monthly craft session, while the next they might have academic bowl, sports practice, etc. However, we seem to have success with our special one-time-only programs. I think it's because they are generally held on Saturdays, and they don't feel an obligation to come back at the same time every month.

We held our first event for Teen Read Week on Wednesday. We decorated donated cupcakes, and played Supernatural Jeopardy that I made up based on random trivia questions. We had 5 teens attend, which is a huge number for us, especially on a Wednesday!

I was anxiously excited for our Clue game. It takes a lot of prep time, so I was nervous it would be a bust. Luckily, we had 8 teens show up! This is a wonderful for us, especially for holding two teen events in a week. 

The preparation for the program included making character name tags, readying the packets for each team, and making the life-sized game board.

Our lovely necklace nametags
The packets included a checklist that helped them decide the killer/weapon/room, clue cards, and a pen. The padded envelope also provided the teams something to write on and helped them hide their checklist from others. 

Making the life-sized board took about 2 hours. Everything was mapped out beforehand, but the actual laying of the tape took longer than expected. We used way less squares than what the traditional Clue game had, but we kept the number of rooms the same.

We planned for this program to last about an hour, but we quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. Teens were trying so hard to have different strategies and special techniques that it ended up taking about an hour and a half to finish. At the 50 minute mark, we stopped rolling the die, and they just moved to a different room when it was their turn. At the 65 minute mark, they had solved everything except the room, so I began to eliminate rooms for them.

My teens absolutely loved this program! Even players who had been eliminated early for wrong guesses stayed the whole time to see who solved the mystery. My inspiration for this program came from the lovely Abby the Librarian blog. She did a similar program in the past, and I've wanted to replicate ever since I first read about it. Her programs and storytimes are wonderful so definitely check her out!

If you're curious, it was Professor Plum, with the wrench, in the Billiards Room. The teen playing Professor Plum was very apologetic and claimed it was an accident. 

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