Library escape room promises summer adventure

·3 min read
Muskingum County Library System Adult Services Librarian Heather Phillips holds up one of the clues to the John McIntire Libarary's escape room.
Muskingum County Library System Adult Services Librarian Heather Phillips holds up one of the clues to the John McIntire Libarary's escape room.

ZANESVILLE — Eerie blue light filters through round windows, fish barely visible outside. The air is getting thin, time is running out, and there are still clues to be found before it is too late.

Fortunately, any fear of a lack of oxygen is just a figment of the imagination, although the excitement of escaping from the John McIntire Library's escape room might bring a little sweat to the brow.

Muskingum County Library System Adult Services Librarian Heather Phillips and Rachel Archeron, youth services assistant librarian have set up an escape room in one of the John McIntire Library's conference room. In keeping with this year's summer reading theme of An Ocean of Possibilities, the premise is that Captain Nemo has gone mad, and trapped the participants in his submarine.

"Captain Nemo has been acting erratic and locked you in a room. Things are beeping and going off, you are running out of oxygen, you need to fix the navigation and find the key and escape the room before you run out of oxygen," said Phillips.

Nemo is the protagonist of French novelist Jules Verne's 1870 novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas." The science fiction classic describes the captain's travels in a lavish submarine.

Participants will have an hour to escape the second-floor conference room. Six codes are needed, plus a key, to unlock a box that will allow escape. The room is arranged much like a stateroom in the Nautilus, Nemo's submarine. There is a desk, a bookcase, and a few other places to search for clues.

But it won't be easy, Phillips said. The codes needed to open the six locks to escape are not easy to find, and she just laughs when asked if there are any red herrings in the room.

"There are a whole variety of clues in here," said Archeron, hidden "in different places, and different things."

Some of the clues will involve reading. There may or may not be some hidden in Nemo's captain's log. "Some are printed out to add to the story, some of them are just us having fun," Archeron said. None of the clues will be obvious, Phillips said.

The room was a library-wide project, with several departments pitching in. It was inspired by other libraries escape rooms and a BreakoutBox.edu program in the library's Dresden branch last summer, where students broke into a box after following a series of clues.

The escape room opened on Monday, and will run through July 9. Sessions are available at 1, 3 and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Registration is required at the Muskingum County Library website, under the events calendar. Participants are required to be age 12 and older.

And should time be running out and the air getting thin, participants can hold up a clue card to the library staffer watching through a blue tinted window to get a clue to help them escape Captain Nemo's submarine.

ccrook@gannett.com

740-868-3708

Social media: @crookphoto

This article originally appeared on Zanesville Times Recorder: Library escape room promises summer adventure