So I thought up this idea a few weeks ago. A library assistant suggested that we have a library mascot over the summer and hide it around the library or around town and we take pictures of it. I think most libraries do something like this on Facebook, and it’s a great way to engage with patrons. I liked that idea, but came up with a better way to fit it into the summer reading theme of “Universe of Stories” and also just make it even more engaging.
So since the theme is “Universe of Stories” I convince my director to buy a inflatable astronaut suit. Inflatable suits are always hilarious, and are definitely eye-catching. And I figured we could use it for school visits, story times, or just hanging out in the library.
So what I did was every Friday morning over summer, I posted 2-3 pictures to our social media of the astronaut somewhere in our village. The park, the fire station, someplace easily recognizable. Once it was up, patrons would have a set amount of time (2 hours for us) to get to that location. Once they are there, they have to try and find the astronaut’s backpack.
The backpack wasn’t ever hidden anyplace really hard, the challenge was more to figure out from the pictures were it was and then actually getting there in the time period. Here you can see it “hidden” next to the jungle gym I was playing on in the picture. I or another staff member was always right next to it make sure no one ran off with it 🙂 Once the patrons came and found the backpack, they could open it up with the staff member’s assistance.
What’s inside the backpack will changed every week! Sometimes it was SRP coupons, or little toys, or craft projects. Things like that! I put more than enough supplies in there for everyone that came, so it wasn’t really a race. It’s more of a way to go on an outdoor scavenger hunt and engage with us in a nontraditional format! Plus I figured it would increase our social media traffic a bit.
Her’s an example of a photo I posted. You obviously can’t tell where this is, but my community was able to figure it out fairly easily, when paired with two other park pictures.
Overall it went really great!! We had a pretty high turnout for most of the days, anywhere from 25-50 some kids. The ones at the fire station or the police station were especially well attended, and they were nice enough to show the kids their cars and equipment. This was a great experiment and a really fun opportunity to be creative and try to reach out to patrons in a different way!
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