Blogger Gretchen Schulz

Engaging Resources for Online Programs Pt. 3

A decorative image of colorful gourds and to cups of black coffee with two spoons.

Hello ALSC Blog Readers!

In this post, I will expand on my previous two posts where I shared and discussed online resources that have helped in my library’s continued dedication to provide programming via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. While I have to admit, programming on Zoom started out shaky, I feel more in a groove these days and hope you all are feeling that way too! Please leave a comment with engaging resources you have come across; we need each other’s ideas and expertise now more than ever.


We all know and love this Parker Brother’s classic. A designer/developer named Anthony Kenzo Salazar and his company, Swellgarfo, have made an online version of the game. You can change the category setting to “Make Child-Friendly” for easier category options, so it a perfect opportunity for a youth program. Just share your screen on Zoom and you are good to go! Here are the rules we used, as adopted from this Bustle article from earlier in 2020.

  1. Make a list of 1-12 on a piece of paper
  2. The goal: Quickly fill out a category list with answers that begin with the same letter.  
  3. Answers must fit the category, and must begin with the key letter. 
  4. Score points if no other player matches your answers.  
  5. When the timer stops (after 2 minutes), all players must immediately stop writing. 
  6. Scoring the round: Players take turns reading their answers aloud. Players mark their own answer sheets by circling acceptable answers that do not match any other player’s answers. Continue reading answers until all 12 categories have been marked. Then score 1 point for each of your circled answers. 
  7. To win the game, score the most points. 

We had a lot of fun with this. When going over answers, I asked the kids to raise their hand if they had an answer for the category. In the event of a challenged answer, we polled the kids by asking for a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If majority were thumbs up, the challenged answer got the point, and vice versa!

Virtual Escape Rooms

Library staff have gotten very creative with escape rooms in the last few months. I have seen some very cool ones made on Google Forms, and have heard people had success creating them on other platforms as well.

I’m bringing it up here to share that BreakoutEDU has a very nice selection of already made escape rooms for all ages, subjects, and occasions–and they are virtual friendly. Again, you only need to share your screen on Zoom to have a successful and fun program. I, of course, found it helpful to print off the answers so they were in front of me as we played–to provide clues if the kids got stuck.

It is a very visually appealing and user-friendly site! We had previously purchased the boxes and content from them, so we already had access to their virtual escape rooms. Something to look into at your libraries!

Thank you so much for reading. Comment below with your own programming resources that have gone well!

Here is the link to my September 24th post Engaging Resources for Online Programs, and my October 27th post Engaging Resources for Online Programs Pt. 2.

This post addresses ALSC Core Competencies III. Programming Skills | 3. Integrates appropriate technology in program design and delivery. & 7. Delivers programs outside or inside the library to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations.

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