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MLA 2008: A Night at the Library – Host a Murder Mystery at your Library October 6, 2008

Posted by cynhudson in Innovation in Libraries, Library Stuff.

Still catching up from MLA…..

Courtney Mlinar, Assistant Library Director at Cottey College had a great session on the second day of MLA!  She talked about the colleges’ implementation of a murder mystery night as way to teach students how to use library resources.  The goals of the program were to assess student knowledge of library resources, create a visible presence on campus, provide cheap entertainment, and create new users of the library.

Her program was based on the work completed by Carleton College in the Fall of 2002, but altered to fix some of the things they learned while implementing the event.

Cottey College program was comprised of:

  • 10 teams
  • 22 clues – 1.5 hours to complete

All of the clues were based on biographies and information found on the Clue boardgame website as well as general Cottey College knowledge. Faculty members were asked to play the part of characters, including Professor Plum, Ms. Scarlett, Col. Mustard, any many more.

After the library’s doors closed at 6pm the murder of the well respected Professor Plum took place in the library elevator and students were sent out to sleuth the killer.  Using team names (such as Agatha Christie, NCIS, CSI, Nancy Drew, etc) and color coding, each team was given their first clue.  All clues required the use of library resources to find the next clue and eventually the killer.  Courtney has provided many examples of the clues and additional information in her powerpoint.

Overall the murder mystery was a great success at Cottey College.  Feedback from the event indicated that students were more confident in finding resources and they liked the faculty involvement.  Faculty also greatly enjoyed participating in the event and are ready to do it again.

Excellent presentation Courtney!



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