Reading Agency launches library exploration game

Reading Agency launches library exploration game

Libraries across the country are taking part in a high-tech treasure based on Simon Mayo’s children’s books. A new campaign supported by The Reading Agency and Random House will get young people with smartphones to hunt for QR codes through participating libraries, echoing the explorations of teenage science-lover Itchingham Lofte, the hero of Mayo’s books Itch and sequel Itch Rocks.

Youngsters will be able to download an app then follow instructions given by librarians, which well send them on a quest through the periodic table. If the app asks them to search for sodium, chemical symbol Na, they will have to look on the shelves for books filed under Na to get their next clue. The final clue will lead to a website where children can enter a competition to win signed copies of the book ad a chemistry set, as well as more information about the characters and science.

Simon Mayo said: “My family and I have a lot of fun with geo-caching, and with the premise of the Itch books being an element hunter, it seemed a perfect fit to have some kind of element hunt enabled by smartphones in the same way. I’m really pleased that kids will have a chance to explore the different elements in a fun and interactive way, and find out more of what Itch gets up to in his adventures.”

Around 30 libraries will take part in the scheme, aimed at 10 to 13-year-olds, brokered by The Reading Agency’s Reading Partners consortium.

Bromborough Library on The Wirral will be one of the participating libraries. Library assistant Katie Atherton, who runs one of the library’s children’s book clubs said: "The QR code on the front cover of Simon Mayo's Itch really captured the imagination of kids at our library. It just wasn’t something they’d associated with books before. Now this QR Code Hunt will offer a really exciting activity for them, and library staff, to get involved in. It is a great chance to get kids who normally just use our computers to get involved.”