Citywide scavenger hunt tests your knowledge of NYC’s public libraries

July 22, 2022

The Adams Street Library in Dumbo; Photo Credit: Gregg Richards

Think you know the library? Prove it during a citywide scavenger hunt next month. Hosted by Open House New York, “Library Love: Five Borough Scavenger Hunt” is a challenging “urban adventure” that will have participants racing across the city, deciphering clues, and deepening their knowledge about the city’s public libraries. If you have a library card, it’s free to compete.

OHNY is teaming up with the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library to bring more than 60 clues exploring “everywhere from the largest marble building ever constructed in the US to the home of more than half a million documents on the history of medicine and public health,” as the group describes.

The scavenger hunt takes place on Saturday, August 6 across the five boroughs. Teams of up to 10 players are permitted.

On the morning of the hunt, captains will be emailed clues that hint at sites, and teams will then search around the city and photograph different key sites. Teams can take public transportation to get around, but those who don’t use cars will get a “green energy bonus.”

The registration fees for teams registered through a local library will be waived to encourage equitable participation in the event. That means anyone individual with a library card can join a team through their local library branch and participate in the event for free.

Teams can start at any time during the 14-hour period. The scavenger hunt is part of the Festival of New York, a summerlong initiative offering events and special programs from over 300 New York City organizations. In partnership with the festival, the libraries will be hosting dozens of outdoor dance parties across the city on August 6. Teams that take a photo at a dance party will receive extra points.

For those looking to register through a local library, you must identify the name of the local branch when you register and OHNY will match you with other participants who have signed up through the same branch.

The registration fees are scaled according to team size:

  • 1-3 members: $45
  • 4-6 members: $75
  • 6-10 individuals: $150
  • Local library teams (1-10 members): Free

The registration deadline for the scavenger hunt is on August 3. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

The “Library Love: Five Borough Scavenger Hunt” is part of OHNY’s ongoing Urban Systems series, Radical Knowledge: Libraries as Community Catalysts, which examines the importance of libraries as learning institutions and community centers.

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