View Project

G2S Project Code: 2016-CT-77650
State: Connecticut
Fiscal Year: 2016

Project Director
Director Name: Elizabeth Joseph
Director Phone: 203-351-8224
Director Email:
General Information
Title: Locked City Escape Room
State Project Code:
Start Date: 02/01/2017
End Date: 09/30/2017
Abstract: In an effort to attract millennials and diversify programming, the Ferguson Library team distributed surveys and conducted focus groups to understand the millennial population. The library's research revealed that Stamford’s millennials sought stimulating, fun and free after-hours activities. The library found that escape rooms offered all the elements to draw in this constituency. The team, inspired by the 2017 summer reading club theme "Build a Better World," designed an escape room that required participants to uncover secrets and clues found in a scientist’s office to save the planet from destruction. Four groups of participants were given one hour to solve the room. Utilizing elements of augmented reality, the Dewey Decimal system and the periodic table of elements, gamers unlocked the clues to ensure the world’s safety. Through collaborative and creative efforts, several teams solved the room within the hour. 
This program was developed through the CT State Library’s pilot project, EXCITE Transformation for Libraries.

State Goal: Literacies and learning
Budget Information
Improve users' general knowledge and skills.
Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)
Activity Details
Title: Escape Room program
Narrative: After gathering data about library programs from surveys and focus groups, the library team learned that in order to appeal to millennials, they must create a program that delivered social, educational and entertainment values. The Ferguson Library team settled on an escape room for its combination of learning, collaboration and engagement while still being entertaining. 

The escape room experience was scheduled on the weekend of Bedford Street Arts & Crafts fair which deliberately coincided with the library’s annual MakeFest. All of these events resulted in a buzz around the library on the third weekend in September 2017. Registration sheets for the escape room were prepared and posted on the library's website and promoted on various social media platforms. The library received an overwhelming response within days of posting the registration link. The escape room’s capacity was limited to fifteen per group, and the library maintained a waiting list for future rooms. In total, the programs drew fifty people.

Intent: Improve users' general knowledge and skills.

Activity: Instruction
Mode: Program
Format: In-person

Session length (minutes): 60
Number of sessions in program: 1
Average number in attendance per session: 13
Number of times program administered: 4

Partner Information
Organization Type of Partner Organization(s):
Libraries: No
Historical Societies or Organizations: No
Museums: No
Archives: No
Cultural Heritage Organization Multi-type: No
Preschools: No
Schools: No
Adult Education: No
Human Service Organizations: No
Other: No

Legal Type of Partner Organization(s):
Federal Government: No
State Government: No
Local Government (excluding school districts): No
School District: No
Non-Profit: No
Private Sector: No
Tribe/Native Hawaiian Organization: No

Is the activity directed at the library workforce: No
For a targeted group or for the general population: Targeted
Geographic community of the targeted group: Urban
For what age groups: 18-25 years
26-49 years
For what economic types: Economic Not Applicable
For what ethnicity types: Ethnicity Not Applicable
Is the activity directed at families: No
Is the activity directed at intergenerational groups: No
Is the activity directed at immigrants/refugees: No
Is the activity directed at those with disabilities: No
Limited functional literacy or informational skills: No
Is the activity category not already captured: No

Is the activity state-wide: No
Specific Locations: Yes
State: CT
Zip: 06904
Question 1: I learned something by participating in this library activity.
Strongly Agree: 15
Agree: 13
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 0
Disagree: 0
Strongly Disagree: 0
Non-Response: 0
Question 2: I feel more confident about what I just learned.
Strongly Agree: 15
Agree: 13
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 0
Disagree: 0
Strongly Disagree: 0
Non-Response: 0
Question 3: I intend to apply what I just learned.
Strongly Agree: 13
Agree: 12
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 2
Disagree: 1
Strongly Disagree: 0
Non-Response: 0
Question 4: I am more aware of resources and services provided by the library.
Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 0
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 0
Disagree: 0
Strongly Disagree: 0
Non-Response: 28
Question 5: I am more likely to use other library resources and services.
Strongly Agree: 15
Agree: 10
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 1
Disagree: 1
Strongly Disagree: 1
Non-Response: 0
Project Outcomes
Project Outcomes
List any important outcomes or findings not previously reported:
The major goal of escape rooms is group participation and collaboration on problem solving to unlock the room. This was accomplished by the Ferguson Library escape room participants in a significant way. Strangers came together and engaged in conversations about science, art and culture in their efforts to solve the room. The majority of participants were in the 18-34 age range, meaning the library met its goal of reaching and attracting millennials to a program. The library's interns and part-time staff, some of whom are students at the nearby University of Connecticut campus at Stamford, helped to publicize the event among their peers. When the escape room participants were polled at the end of each experience, many revealed that they were UConn students.
Please briefly describe the importance of these outcomes and findings for future program planning:
The team's most striking realization was millennials are not mysterious or obscure. If the library puts forth programming that appeals to their current and shifting wants, they will be active members and participants of library programs. Generation Y members prefer programming during much of the library non-operational hours in the evening and weekends.
Explain one or two of the most significant lessons learned for others wanting to adopt any facets of this project:
People-centered research, the design process, and collaboration can result in a successful program.
Do you anticipate continuing this project after the current reporting period ends:
Do you anticipate any change in level of effort in managing this project:

Do you anticipate changing the types of activities and objectives addressed by the project:

Was an evaluation conducted for this project:
Was a final written evaluation report produced:
Can the final written evaluation report be shared publicly on the IMLS website:
Was the evaluation conducted by project staff (either SLAA or local library) or by a third-party evaluator:
What data collection tools were used for any report outcomes and outputs:
Did you collect any media for the data:
What types of methods were used to analyze collected data:
How were participants (or items) selected:
What type of research design did you use to compare the value for any reported output or outcome:
Exemplary: No
Exemplary Narrative
Project Tags: EXCITE, community