Recently I was in Oklahoma City, and while looking for things to do on TripAdvisor I saw that one of the highest rated attractions was The Escape OKC. Seeing this, I was reminded that I had read a story about a similar attraction in NYC called Escape The Room. Whether you are in NYC or OKC the idea at both attractions is the same: solve the mystery in an hour to release your team, or lose. It is like a treasure hunt but in one room.

The live action “escape” concept seems to have surfaced in Japan or Silicon Valley in the mid 2000s, based off of computer games of the same genre, like the Crimson Room. The games require teamwork, critical thinking, and puzzle solving abilities, and that’s why I am writing about it for you my dear librarians. Many of you are armchair detectives rivaling Mr Holmes, and surely with your talents you could conjure a mystery that would have your patrons lined up at the door to get a crack at solving.

Takao Kato, whom has been credited with originating the live action escape games, made this comment in a Wired article in 2012, “as a kid, I always wanted to ‘live in the story,’ and survive the adventure, solve the mystery, and be a hero like the characters in books I loved as a child…Real Escape Game is an opportunity to make these dreams come true.” Imagine weaving your favorite characters and stories, your collection, and your library space into an evening that will challenge your patrons in a manner they never have before (completion percentage is usually under 15%). It is a chance for people in your community to work together without a screen dividing their attention (no smart phones allowed!), a complete rarity these days.

You might consider this type of event for your next fundraiser, in OKC the price per team (2 to 6 people) is nearly $80 in NYC the cost is about $30 per person.

Photo Credit: Locked by flickr user Fintrvlr, used under Creative Commons License