Every year, our children's department comes up with something that makes me wish I were a kid again, so I could play, too. They've been getting better and more involved every year, but this year takes the cake and tops everything they've done in all the years I've worked there.
Our children's department head has been periodically posting pictures and descriptions of the huge gameboards for this year's summer reading program on her blog. There may be more info forthcoming in the weeks to come, but there's now enough up to get a good idea of what's going on.
Here are a few of the pictures as teasers and a brief a description of the game for context; see the links to her blog for more pictures, details, and descriptions.
Part 1: Construction
Construction of game board #1
Part 2: Games for the littlest kids
Cut-paper mural behind the little-kids area, with one side of the photo-op cutout
Part 3: Games for the rest of the kids
Gameboard #2, section 2
Summary of the main game: The robotic Plutonians are angry that we declared Pluto to no longer be a planet, and have declared war, and it is up to the brave heroes of an Alliance space station to hold back the Plutonian assault. Kids choose a character to move around the station and gain the experience necessary to pilot a space ship and defend the station. One of the starting characters turned out to be a Plutonian spy. In space, when a hero defeats a Plutonian or a Plutonian defeats a hero, the winners get a point and the loser is sent back to the station for more experience (heroes) or is sent to the Scrapyard (Plutonians). At the end of the summer reading program the two sides tallies will be compared and a winner declared. (If there's more beyond that, the children's librarians are keeping it a secret. They do that a lot when it comes to summer reading games.)
In all cases, character movement is determined by kids rolling one of a pair of 18" cloth dice for the heroes, and a librarian or volunteer rolling one for the Plutonians. The action is divided up into two-week sections, so that Board #1 is the only one active for the first two weeks, then the first section of Board #2 is activated, and then the other two sections are activated at approximately two-week increments.
There's also a "Space Libs" board (a la Mad Libs) off to one side, where kids can pick nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. out of a bin and attach them (via velcro) to a corresponding space in the sentences on the board, creating a constantly-changing silly story.
All in all, it's really fun to watch the action progress, and it makes me wish the adult department offered a summer reading game (in addition to their standard "list X books you read this summer and be entered in a raffle for neat prizes") for those adults who'd enjoy something a bit more interactive & fun.
And it makes me proud & happy to work in a library that has this much pure, unmitigated fun with summer reading (even if it is a lot of work for the librarians to plan, design, construct, and operate).
(If you want to keep tabs on her blog via LJ, you can now do that via susandovelempke, though she doesn't monitor the LJ feed for comments.)