Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Trivial pursuits

Posted by lpearle on 18 June 2013

While I’m pretty good at answering Jeopardy questions from the comfort of my own home, and have been known to play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit at times, I’m not a huge trivia competition buff (unlike my friend Chuck, who not only is trying for a spot on a show he calls The Chance but also does several public trivia competitions).  Still, when mk e-mailed and not only asked if I was interested in competing in Lounge Lit: The Revenge of Literary Pub Trivia and added that I was her team’s ringer… well, flattery will get you somewhere, right?

And thus, Team Outside of a Dog was born.  Members?  Molly, mk, Amy and me.

The first question was easy: from the following list, which of these is not a country in Oz?  Well, to a former member of the International Wizard of Oz club (and someone who has read the entire Baum oeuvre) this was a gimme.  Skeezer Country does not exist, even though there are Skeezers in Oz.  Easy points.  Sadly, the rest of that round was not as easy!  However, we rebounded enough to end up second (yes, you read that correctly – second) in the points before the final round.   Unfortunately we focused on the wrong part of the clue and, under the betting strategy of “go big or go home” we, well, went home.  Fifth overall, which wasn’t too bad for our first time as a trivia team.

This is a really simple idea for any library looking to engage the community!  Of course, you need someone to create the questions, and it helps to make them cover a wide range.  See the Oz question above?  Others dealt with literary fiction (Jane Eyre), classics (Canterbury Tales), genre fiction (Harlequin romances and science-fiction), poetry (what meter a poem is written in) and contemporary (Bridget Jones).  The Bonus Points ranged from authors yearbook photos (now I know what Maurice Sendak looked like in high school) to Who Was Who.  In other words, really general knowledge that gave no edge to people who spent their lives studying Great Works nor to those who read in one genre or another.

Another help?  There was a playlist that gave clues to the answer, for example a Howling Wolf song was supposed to lead us to Beowulf (failed that one).  Or to extrapolate from “Kyrie Eleison” by Mr Mister that the answer was Duran Duran (nailed it!).  A good announcer and sound system are also critical.  I’d add asking for teams to be cross-generational, so you can really have fun with questions and clues.  Get some local bookstores and other shops to contribute prizes and voila.  Fun… relatively free… and engaging the community in thinking about books and reading.

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