In April of 2020, Johnson County Library, a 14-branch system in Eastern Kansas serving approximately 600,000 individuals, launched online trivia passive programming via the Kahoot! Platform. Our goal was to better engage our patrons during the shutdown caused by COVID-19. Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that is intuitive to use and allows for the easy creation of online trivia games based on any topic of interest from kids books to pets.
Since its inception, the Kahoot! platform has shown its versatility as a valuable tool for use by libraries, not only in the form of passive programming for families but also for live virtual family programming, library program advertising, and beyond. Thanks to its popularity, we have continued using Kahoot! post-closure, and it has evolved into other programming opportunities. In the remainder of this article, we will detail Kahoot! best practices we have learned over the course of using the platform.
Constructing Your Kahoot!
The basics of creating a Kahoot! Game and customizing its contents are user-friendly and intuitive. The game can be as simple or complex as your creativity allows or based on the skill level of your players.
To create a game, you can import questions created by other users or create your own quizzes. Available question types include multiple choice, true or false, fill-in, or puzzle. We have had the most success with the multiple choice and true/false questions as it allows patrons to make educated guesses when they don’t know the answer.
Other customizable options include changing the time limit as well as the number of points awarded for each answer. It is a best practice to double the points for a more difficult question, and depending on the question type, increase the time limit. We also place harder questions near the end of the game so players don’t become discouraged.
To offer additional exploration of the game’s topic and add a personal connection to your library’s catalog/website, consider creating a list of materials available through your library with annotations connecting to the game’s subject. During your game promotion, provide a link to this personalized list for patrons to explore. This will give patrons the opportunity to explore the subject of the game and learn about the materials the library has to offer.
We advertise our passive and live trivia via the library’s social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and use Canva to construct eye-catching graphics.
Live and Passive Programming with Kahoot!
As previously mentioned, Johnson County Library offers Kahoot! in both passive and live formats for kids and their families. For our passive family trivia games advertised via social media, we ask parents to grab their kids and vie for top honors and bragging rights. Quizzes vary widely in theme and offer a fun learning opportunity for parents to engage with their children as their schedules allow.
In addition to using quizzes to provide fun and educational family entertainment, they can also be used to advertise library programming. For example, Johnson County Library made a dolphin trivia quiz to help advertise our 2021 Summer virtual program with Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the tailless dolphin.
Johnson County Library offers Live Family Trivia programs several times a year including at our summer launch event. Previous themes include STEAM, history and bookish trivia. Once a theme is decided, five quizzes of 15 to 20 questions are prepared for a one-hour event highlighting theme sub-categories. Multiple short games allow for more winners and gives latecomers and those that leave early the opportunity to play complete games.
Our library utilizes the Zoom platform for Live Family Trivia with an emcee who conveys playing instructions, reads questions, and generates enthusiasm by hyping up the leaderboard after each turn. At the end of each quiz, three winners are announced, and play moves to the next game in the series. Post-COVID, the platform can easily transition to in-person trivia events.
Kahoot! is an easy-to-use, engaging platform for both passive and live programming that can increase patron interest in your library’s social media while providing educational opportunities for families. It is fun, learning-focused, and can be used to highlight the library’s collection, upcoming programming, and more.
Kahoot! offers a free trial period and has several user plans from which your library can choose. You can create your own games or enjoy games created by other users. JoCoLibrary has made all our games public and accessible to anyone (keyword JoCoLibrary), and we welcome other libraries’ use of our quizzes, especially those wishing to explore the opportunities offered by the platform. Some samples of our programs can be found at https://tinyurl.com/jocolibrarydolphintrivia and https://tinyurl.com/jocolibraryanimaltails1.
Do you use Kahoot! or other online quiz/trivia games to engage your library users? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
Hannah Jane Weber, Heather Miller, and Tiffany Rinne are Youth Information Specialists in the Johnson County Library system in Kansas. They are all active members of the library’s Kahoot! development team, which has created more than 150 Kahoot! games for library patrons.
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