On Friday, August 1st teens at my library participated in the National Teen Library Lock-in for the third time. It’s a night just for teens. We host the annual event to celebrate teens who are part of the summer program and to introduce new teens to the library.
This year, the highlight was the new continent-wide Minecraft event. A dozen teens played the popular game on a virtual server rented for the event with teens from twenty other libraries across the country. Time zones dictated how many teens we played with, but it was fun to play and fun to watch. Instead of seeing teens playing online games by themselves or with unknown rivals, our players coached each other, explored the Minecraft world together and were thrilled to be at the library.
After a couple of hours of Minecraft (we played at the end of the six hour timeline because of our time zone), we ate pizza and ice cream before ending the event with an hour of Minute to Win It. We didn’t submit our times and team scores to the National Lock-in contest, but teens loved it. The gaggle of teens, who strangers for the most part, were paired up randomly and, surprisingly, played as if they all already knew each other. I love that.
My favorite part of the night was building community- online and in the library. That seems more important than ever these days and libraries are natural community centers that bring all sorts of people together in a shared space.
For this three hour event, we have teens register, which is unusual for our library but necessary. We also have parents complete a permission form since it is an after hours event.
To prepare for the Minecraft play, my coworker loaded the Minecraft launcher on to our public computers. We also purchased six Minecraft accounts from MinecraftEDU so teens without Minecraft accounts could also play- most teens used our accounts. We’ll be providing access to the library Minecraft accounts during regular library hours also.
The Lock-in wiki is always full of craft and game ideas so we grabbed some of the Minute to Win It games and had most of the items on hand. We also brought out our DIY Craft boxes during the Minecraft play so teens who needed a break could do origami or make a duct tape project.
We ordered pizza and bought ice cream and drinks at minimal cost.
We awarded the teen summer program grand prizes at the event and had some smaller prizes and books to give teens who played to Minute to Win It.