Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2018


Librarians are always looking for inventive ways to engage first year students in Library Orientation programs. In 2017, ACRL released the First-Year Experience Cookbook, which included chapters on topics such as how to use social media to engage FYE students, various innovations of the traditional scavenger hunt, and other great ideas. This book showcased how librarians are always looking for new ways to promote active learning of both online and physical resources and how to help students understand the importance of the library in their college career (Pun & Houlihan, 2017).

As early adopters of an escape room format for FYE orientations, the authors have had a chance to use, assess, and improve the program at the University of North Alabama (UNA). In the interactive workshop presented at LOEX, the authors shared the basics of how to develop an escape room game for library orientation programs, how to assess the effectiveness of the game, and how to continually improve and update it to keep it fresh. The presenters also detailed how this orientation met the goals of the University’s FYE instruction plan (UNA, 2017).

The authors shared the results of their Fall 2017 study of this FYE program. Their post-instruction survey instrument was comprised of six yes/no questions and two free-form response questions. With over 150 survey responses, data showed that over 90% of students stated they had a better understanding of the library and 95% had a better understanding of the library’s website. Over 50% of the student responses indicated that the students retained the ability to name specific website links and specific physical collections within the library.

To prepare for their workshop, the authors brought four Breakout EDU kits and designed a special LOEX-themed game, so workshop participants could actively engage with the kits and understand the concept and its value as a teaching tool. Everyone who participated had a chance to “break out” of the traditional and into the innovative world of team-based strategy that has shown to be exceptionally effective in FYE instruction at the University of North Alabama (UNA).

Publication Title

LOEX Quarterly