Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spy Week Day One

It's "spring" break 'round these parts. For a part-time librarian that means stealth programming. And (besides ninjas) what's stealthier than a spy?

I set up a Spy Station by covering a table with black paper and making yellow banners that say, "Top Secret." I put out some "I Spy" books and various other spy books. The basic idea is that every day this week there will be a different spy activity at the Station, leading up to the, "Ultimate Spy Challenge" which will be a traditional program on Friday this week.

The first activity was a Stealth Challenge. I hid four, "Information Locations" around the children's area of the library and instructed the kids to stealthily hunt for them (reality was more like this). Each location had a paper punch with a different shape. Once they found all four locations they were to turn their sheets in at the Reference desk to receive their next mission.

When they came to the desk, I told them their next mission was to learn a secret language and gave them instructions on how to speak in Pig Latin. I made a big deal out of folding the paper in half and telling them they they got to decide who to share their secret language with, and to keep it secret in the meantime. The idea here was that it was something for them to take home and work on outside of the library. The Pig Latin sheets also told them they could get extra credit for saying something to me in Pig Latin (I am fluent in several made up languages, including one my sister and I completely made up which relies on a great deal of mind-reading. But hey, when you've got four brothers whatever works).

Although it's just the first day of Spy Week, I'm ready to call it a success. When I left for a meeting at 2:30 we had already gone through 17 Stealth Challenges, and in many cases it was whole families or groups of siblings working together to find the Information Locations. I even had a few kids attempt to greet me in Pig Latin (for which they earned Smarties).

My favorite moment was when I saw a group of three kids far afield from where any of the information locations were. I sidled up to them, "Hey, are you guys spies? I've got a secret message. All the information locations are on that side of the library [subtle nod]." I loved watching them go from side-eyed, "Stranger alert" to dawning realization that I was a co-conspirator.

Stay tuned for the rest of Spy Week! (and even MORE on Spy Week)


  1. The real revelation here is that you have 4 BROTHERS?? AND A SISTER? Are you one of 6 kids?!? (Did I do that math right?)

  2. Beautiful Stealth program. It's going into my fall workshop for Winnefox Library System. Starting a new Pinterest board NOW!


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