Library launches advisory group with escape room


The Brandon Free Public Library has launched a teen/tween advisory group to help provide feedback to improve library offerings. At the kickoff for the advisory group, the library hosted an escape room scenario for the kids on Tuesday, May 7.

“Our goal is to get teen input on what they would like out of the library,” librarian Joni Osterhaudt said. “We want to hear what the library can do for them.”

Osterhaudt said that many times children frequent the library when they are younger, but once they become teenagers their lives become busier and they don’t have as much time for the library.

“In the past, kids weren’t catered to by libraries and they didn’t feel like a part of it,” she said. “Now, libraries around the state are trying to do more to reach younger kids and students, and that means changing things up and getting more input.”

This first meeting of the advisory group saw 12 children gather to solve a puzzle regarding an alien invasion of Earth. They had to work as a group to solve problems and use clues they found to figure out the combination locks that secured the boxes with the puzzle answers in them before the hour time limit was up — otherwise, the aliens took over the planet.

“The event went great – all three groups were able to break out before the hour was up,” said librarian Molly Kennedy, noting that the earth was saved. “I’ve heard positive feedback from the parents of the attendees and the kids themselves.”

According to the Vermont Department of Libraries, the state boasts the most libraries per capita.

“The department helps us all work together,” Osterhaudt said. “That allows us to do things we might not be able to otherwise.”

The escape room scenario was a kit provided by the department and it helped the librarians layout the clues to keep the children entertained. Kennedy said the new advisory group will meet every first Tuesday of the month, year-round.

Kennedy added the group will likely do another escape room next month because the kids had so much fun with this one.“In the future we will probably do more escape room events, art projects, comic book making, movie showings, video challenges, programming prep, and whatever else these awesome kids can think up!” she said. “It really is all about them as they are the keepers of this group. They provide the ideas and we provide the pizza.”

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