At first it’s hard to make out the old cobwebs covering the table, books, anatomical models, and one or two skulls. A white board, which should have been clear of writing, is filled with black and white photos of strangers connected by bright red string. Before the students have time to acclimate themselves to the strangely decorated study room, the door shuts abruptly behind them. That’s when they notice the skeleton standing rigidly in a dark corner, a rose held tightly between clenched, yellow teeth. Scattered throughout the almost claustrophobic room are pieces of paper containing riddles and puzzles promising a code to escape the library. The first clue involves decoding a riddle to obtain the password for a dust-covered laptop. It doesn’t take long for the designated codebreaker to “hack” into the laptop, and find the video needed for the next clue.
With the first riddle solved, a new game of Escape the Library begins!
A relatively new addition to the world of interactive games, escape the room games have been popularized in a variety of settings, including first dates, family vacations, and office holiday parties. Running the gamut from zombie apocalypse scenarios to chilling mysteries, the games bring together groups of three or more individuals to creatively and collaboratively solve a series of puzzles. The Frank Ritchel Ames Memorial Library’s Escape the Room tested the students’ ability to efficiently communicate with their classmates and apply their knowledge of library resources to the task at hand. Multiple groups participated leading up to and on Halloween, giving students a fun, and spooky, break from studying.