Yuma, Arizona - Do you have what it takes to escape from the library at Arizona Western College?

Staff at the AWC/NAU Academic Library are offering a new instruction session based on an escape room experience this fall. Using critical thinking skills, students will have 60 minutes to solve puzzles and clues in order to escape from the library’s Instruction Room.

With escape rooms being offered across the country as mind-challenging entertainment, Distance Education Librarian Tina Sibley shared that she wanted to find a way to offer the same type of experience for students in an academic setting utilizing library resources and services. Through a collaboration with Social Sciences Adjunct Professor Dawn Whinnery, the duo developed an innovative activity that was tested by multiple classes at the AWC Yuma Campus during the spring semester.

“Right now, students' attention is being pulled by easy access to constant entertainment on their phones. Gamification in education engages students and makes them apply critical thinking skills while learning new material,” said Whinnery. “This type of activity challenges students, but they are more engaged because it feels like a game.”

Sibley and Outreach and Instruction Librarian Sujata Halarnkar will be offering “Escape the Room” sessions for any AWC professors who would like to schedule their classes to come in as part of the regular library instruction program. There will also be opportunities for students to drop in and try to complete the challenge on their own. The program has the potential to be used as a professional development activity for faculty and staff as well.