Tween Programming–Are You Smarter than a Librarian? Trivia Night

So this is a summer program we’ve been hosting for 5 years now.  I’m extra proud of this one because it’s the first program I came up with that I didn’t first steal from Pinterest 🙂

I’ve always saved this one for the week of 4th of July–the idea being I don’t put too much work into this one, so if not that many kids show up it’s okay.  But it’s also interesting enough that we’ve always gotten a pretty good crowd anyway.  We even have parents that want to stick around and watch this one.

It’s also a really cheap and simple program to host.  All you need are some willing librarians to help you out.  Your job as the host will be to ask questions and keep score!!

Smarter Than--Podium Sign.jpg

So here’s the setup–first I set up 3 or 4 tables with chairs, depending on how many kids I get.  Each table works as a team.  One table will be for the librarians, we’ve always had two librarians at this table; having just one librarian there would get boring for them, so I think two is the way to go.  The other tables will be for your kids.


I usually divide the hour into a few different rounds to keep it interesting.  The first challenge is a picture round to try and get the different teams to start working together:



The answers are “They all have FEET” and “They all have TEETH.”  Wah wah wahhh.

After that I do a round of basic trivia questions.  We don’t have buzzers like on a game show, so I just ask each table a separate question and go from there.  I also try to make it fair for both the kids AND the librarians, so I ask the kids questions I think they should know, and I ask the librarians things they DEFINITELY don’t (librarians don’t know a lot about boy bands it turns out.)

I’ve tried to switch back and forth between picture rounds and basic trivia rounds, to keep it interesting, since sometimes just doing basic trivia can get boring.  But we have a few special trivia rounds to keep it interesting, like “Which Came First?”  In this category, the team must answer which came first out of two options.


Which came first: The zipper or velcro??  The answer is the zipper (invented in 1893, velcro was invented 1956.)

Which came first: Backstreet Boys or N’Sync??  The answer is Backstreet Boys (album released 1996, N’Snyc was released in 1998.)

A great place to find questions for this is in a book like “Smithsonian Visual Timeline of Inventions.”  It spells out when nearly every invention was created and in what year.

Another special round we do is “Guess How Much?”  In this round, you ask a question like “How tall is the Eiffel Tower?”  Then each table gets to submit one answer; the one closet to the actual answer gets the point.  I try to spice it up with a few weirder questions like:

How many pages in all 7 Harry Potter books?  (4,224 pages)

How many times is the phrase “Shake it Off” said in the Taylor Swift song of the same name? (36 times)

About how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie roll center of a Tootsie pop, according to a recent study? (1000 licks)

So just keep alternating between trivia and picture rounds to spice things up.  The summer reading theme a few years back was superheroes, so we did a superhero logo picture round:


Answers are:
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman X-Men
Fantastic Four, Deadpool, Daredevil, Green Lantern, Aquaman
Spawn, The Punisher, Shazam, The Flash

The final round is usually a BIG picture round.  This is what I did my first year:


Here they have to write down both the book title and the author based on the movie.  FUN!!  The last event is always worth the most points.  The kids actually did pretty well on this one.  After that, tally up your points and announce who wins.

Answers are:
Where the Wild Things Are–Sendak, Fault in our Stars–Green, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs–Barrett, How to Train Your Dragon–Cowell, Diary of a Wimpy Kid–Kinney, Percy Jackson–Riordan, Tale of Despereaux–DiCamillo, Mr. Fantastic Fox–Dahl, Wizard of Oz–Baum, Ender’s Game–Card, Charolette’s Web–White

Our librarians have won the past FIVE years in a row, but it’s always been pretty close.  Phil, our adult services librarian, wanted a championship belt, so Miss Gloria made this for the event:


As prizes, we give out candy bars to all the kids that participate.

THAT’S IT!!  Really simple–the hardest part is finding questions to ask the kids.  I’ve found some pretty cheap trivia books meant for kids and just used those.  Easy enough!



6 thoughts on “Tween Programming–Are You Smarter than a Librarian? Trivia Night

Add yours

  1. love this!!! Would also love to steal it, if you dont mind. Can you provide me with the answers to the picture trivia portion? I know some, but I am rusty on my superheros! Thank you.


    1. That’s an interesting idea. I run it traditional trivia style, where you can’t look anything up. If you wanted, you could have kids try to look up the answer by finding a book about the subject in the library. That would take up a lot of time though, but might be a cool way to learn some library skills.


  2. I love this idea so much. I would love to use it this summer in our library. If you could provide any question & answer sheets to me I would greatly appreciate it. I have started thinking of some fun ones but would love to have more for the kids.


    1. Thanks!! Though the original idea is mine, I no longer run this program, and another librarian has taken over writing questions. Kids like the picture rounds so do a few of those; you can model it off the example I gave. Try to find a few trivia books for kids and get questions from there–that’s what I did at least 🙂


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