David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Calling Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

April 1, 2011: Calling Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Really cool idea for celebrating the rich history of the New York Public Library:  500 people getting to spend all night in the building participating in a giant scavenger hunt.  Great website for it, also.

The website prefers to maintain an allure of mystery about the event, but news sources across the world have started to fill in some details about the kinds of "objects" that participants will have to find.  See one such article.

What's truly remarkable about this event is that it is very much a modern affair:  the use of online submissions to participate, scanning of bar codes with cell phones, and elements of role-playing games.  At the same time, the game reinforces age-old skills often undervalued:  good old-fashioned research, writing assignments, and creativity.  And participants even get to delve into the underground stacks, adding a healthy dose of creepiness if the lights are kept low (don't know if that is planned or not).  And the website's graphics resemble the covers of the cheap paperbacks I once had of H.P. Lovecraft or Robert E. Howard.  It is a contest that both does and doesn't take itself too seriously.

Participants will come from the best submissions related to the statement, "In the year 2021, I will become the first person to _______."

I don't believe I could be in New York on the date of the all-nighter, even if I did come up with something clever about a ground-breaking event in higher education in ten years.  Still, as the website says, anyone in the world can play online.  I'll take my chances in that way.