Revenge of the Fifth Teen Lock-In By Michelle Biwer
I tried implementing our library’s first “Lock-In” this past fall as a way to draw new teens to our events. The teens currently involved in my teen programs are usually high school-aged library volunteers. We hoped that Lock-Ins would serve as both fun activities for teen volunteers to plan and a new way to draw middle schoolers into the library’s teen program. We conceived of a two hour, teen-only event that would periodically take place on Friday evenings from 6-8pm, after the library has closed to the public.
A few months prior to our second Lock-In – a “Revenge of the Fifth”-themed “Star Wars” event – I had interested volunteers from my teen advisory board (TAB) make decorations, pitch station ideas, and of course make sure that we had enough fun activities for both middle and high schoolers. Thankfully, I did not have to purchase anything but food for this event, necessarily supplies came from the children’s department craft room and my brother’s extensive Star Wars memorabilia collection.
Who Is Flying This Thing?:
We had 3 librarians staff the event (one for each floor of our library) and 7 teen volunteers run the stations and sign attendees into the program. This ratio worked well: we had about 35 teens in attendance, including volunteers. The numbers were a bit lower than I’d hoped, but when AP exam season is factored in I was still pleased with the turn-out given the circumstances. We publicized the event through word of mouth at TAB and by getting it onto the morning announcements at some local schools.
The teen volunteers and I worked collaboratively to develop the following activities for the “Revenge of the Fifth” Lock-In.
- “Escape Tatooine!” Escape Room: This was the second time I built an escape room for a program, and it was definitely easier once I’d had some experience! It is quite the tall order to turn a library conference room into a spaceship. Thankfully, all I had to do was set a some TAB members loose with access to the children’s department craft closet for a few hours and they came up with this magnificent beast:
- BB8 Obstacle Course: Our Sphero BB8 has to get past X-Wings, the Death Star, and even Darth Vader himself in order to escape! Originally, I wanted the teens to program BB8 to add some STEM into the evening, but the teen volunteer who lead the station was dead set on manually racing it, so alas. That robot, by the way, is the cutest thing in the whole world.
- Trivia: using the wonderful phone-based Kahoot! System
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Wii Game: This was honestly supposed to be one of those “we have it in case we need it stations,” but it was SUPER popular).
- Star Wars Lightsaber Cards: A genius coworker of mine also modified the design so that we did not have to purchase the lilypad switches, making this a cheap and educational activity!
- Perler Bead Star Wars Creations
- Scavenger Hunt: I teamed up with our local Escape Room Surelocked In and they created a Star Wars scavenger hunt for us that teens could complete during the lock-in. This was a perfect addition because it encouraged the teens to travel around to every station and appealed to the wide range of ages present. Plus, the presenter was awesome with the teens and an eager Star Wars fan himself.
- Star Wars Photobooth (on right)
- Final Group Activity: I like ending these big events with a final group activity where everyone works together. I had big and elaborate plans for an impressive “Destroy the Death Star” Game…but of course the Death Star was destroyed on the first try, within 5 seconds. Our backup activity was “Han Solo Freeze Tag” with the Star Wars soundtrack blaring in the background. The teens had a blast anyway!
I think the teens and library staff loved helping with this event and we are hoping to run something similar for next year’s May the Fourth!
Michelle is a Teen Services Librarian and Shelving Supervisor in Maryland. She received her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and her BA in Sociology from the College of William and Mary. In her free time she loves attending musical theatre, listening to podcasts, and bingeing sci-fi TV shows.
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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