1st Library Spy Hunt is a success!

New scavenger hunt sparks interest among faculty, students, and local community members.

Perhaps it was the promise of many free prizes. Perhaps it was the Join Or Die! political cartoon that we had used as our logo this year that motivated so many to get out and participate (see more on this below).  Whatever the initial motivator, students, faculty, and local community members alike all flocked to the library to avoid the certain doom that awaited them if they did not do whatever it was we were forcing them to do.

Based loosely on the spy activities associated with Long Island’s Culper Spy Ring, the hunt had participants scrambling to decode clues using many of the same techniques believed to have been used by General George Washington and his intelligence operatives during the Revolutionary War.  These included invisible ink, cipher wheels, the pigpen code, and more.

A hunt requiring participants to utilize research skills was just too complex for the rhyming clue scheme used in our annual scavenger hunt. A narrative was required to be the glue that held it all together.  And what better narrative than one that combines our Library’s unique holdings (a letter written by George Washington himself!) and our rich local history.  We also had a curious supply of glow in the dark paint, clothesline, and historical garb that really needed to be put to some use.

Thanks to super generous staff members, this hunt suddenly became the most prize-rich one to date.  This is perhaps why it was so shocking to see that our first eager person to register was a faculty member who expressed that she did not want prizes.  She was in it for love of country, or Library, or perhaps just curiosity. Whatever her motivation, she gave us some helpful hints for improving our clues and making it a little easier to figure out (yes, hunters, this was the easier version).

A spy hunt - it's what to make when you have too much glowing ink in your house

A spy hunt – it’s what to make when you have too much glowing ink in your house

Think of how exhausted you'd feel if this was the hard version?

Come on, guys! Think of how exhausted you’d feel if this was the hard version!

Come game day, students and staff alike were eager to take part in the action.  As it turns out, colonial attire is on its way back in the fashion world, as was evident by the number of staff who own pieces that they believe will once again be all the rave this spring.  Our student workers confessed that they were not aware of this trend, so we kindly lent them some of our hottest accessories.

 

Look! It's...George Washington? Looking fabulous with the Super Sly Spies

Hey! It’s…George Washington? Looking fabulous with the Super Sly Spies

Spy Hunt! Where students unintentionally learned a lot about the French and Indian War

Spy Hunt! Where students unintentionally learned a lot about the French and Indian War

Striking a treaty that would put an end to Library fines

Attempting to strike a treaty that would put an end to Library fines

Proving that Benjamin Franklin’s Join Or Die! political cartoon is still as effective today, we were surprised to receive a call from workers at Ward Melville Heritage Organization who wished to also take part in the event so they could remain happily living.  They were at a slight disadvantage since they did not register for the more introductory scavenger hunt held in the fall, so they had not yet been introduced to some of the key locations in the Library building.  Nevertheless, they breezed through the clues at a speed that would bring a tear to George Washington’s eye. And it even looked like they had fun along the way! Thanks for spending your lunch break learning more about the Library and our helpful services!

If you liked this event, you'd love what these guys have to offer! http://wmho.org/

If you liked this event, you’d love what these guys have to offer! http://wmho.org/

In the end, not many points separated the winners from the rest of the pack.  It all came down to the bonus points, with the team with the best name (Mare Lupus – Latin code name for Sea Wolf) and most patriotic picture gaining those crucial points needed to move ahead – but only by one point! We hope all teams will be happy with the prizes they found at clue checkpoints. It was the least we could do to show our appreciation for you taking part in our latest Library event.  Be sure to like us on facebook to hear about upcoming activities, contests, and important information regarding our collection and services!

Patriotism at the S.S. Melville. We love it!

Patriotism at the S.S. Melville. We love it!

These very clever agents have no trouble solving our puzzles

These very clever agents had no trouble solving our puzzles

Bonus points! +1 for finding a sea wolf, and a few more points for a great picture!

Bonus points! +1 for finding a seawolf, and a few more points for a great picture!

Prizes! Compliments of the SBU Libraries staff!

Prizes! Compliments of the SBU Libraries staff!

Down a few members, but still ready for the challenge!

Down a few members, but still ready for the challenge!

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

Just a fraction of the staff that made this event possible. Thanks to you all!

Just a fraction of the staff that made this event possible. Thanks to you all!

Meaning behind this year’s logo choice:

Join, or Die? That may be the underlying message behind the iconic divided snake on this year’s scavenger hunt button, but don’t worry, it is not to be taken literally.  No harm will come to those who decline to join in the fun. When Benjamin Franklin first designed the powerful political cartoon to inspire the colonies to unite forces he was not suggesting that they would not continue living if they did not join in the resistance either – but we would die as a nation, having surrendered the freedom and principles that our country had been built upon.  As scholars, we stand on principles and standards of our own, which are rooted in the library. This is the place where knowledge is stored, ideas are born, and in-depth research takes each of us to the next level of academic accomplishment.  Abandoning these skills will lead to our academic demise, unless we embrace all tools available to create a unified understanding of research methods.

 

Posted in Events, Libraries, Library Instruction, Library Outreach, Melville Library, Research


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