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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Monthly challenges add fun student interactions

By Kaylee Chan | Editor-in-Chief

CANDY CALAMITY  Students had to guess the number of Halloween candies in the jar.

   When senior Abbygail Robles submitted a random guess for October’s monthly library challenge, winning a jar of Halloween candy in return was the last of her expectations.

   The challenge, which garnered the highest participation out of all the monthly challenges thus far, involved guessing the number of Halloween candy in a jar. Whoever got the closest answer got to take the entire jar home.

   “I was really surprised,” said Robles, who often stays in the library after school to do homework. “It was unexpected, but it was exciting to receive a prize after I just randomly guessed the number.”

   Library challenges like this are nothing new in the Media Center. Librarian Eileen Chi first got the idea at a library conference in 2019 and has come up with monthly themed activities ever since. Getting ideas can be a time-consuming process, one that often involves browsing Pinterest and observing social media trends, but the payoff is worth it.

   “The purpose is to get people to come to the library and maybe as they fill out the challenge, they see what resources the library has. It’s a way to pique interest,” Chi stated. “I want them to see the types of books or genres the library offers, such as graphic novels, biographies… I try to have something for everybody.”

   The January activity is for students to write down one thing they are planning to try or do in 2022. Submissions are due today, with the winner being chosen through raffle.

   However, not all challenges involve random selection. December’s activity had students guessing the number of textbooks that made up a Christmas tree display, which, according to Chi, was won by a student who diligently stopped by the library to count each book one by one.

HO! HO! HO!  The December activity challenged students to guess the amount of textbooks in the tree. 

   November’s monthly challenge involved answering Thanksgiving trivia. The challenge for October also took inspiration from holidays as it was centered around Halloween candies.

   For the first challenge of the school year in September, students had to guess the identity of different banned books based on the reasons why each of the books were banned and a quote from the book. It serves as both a trivia-like game and a learning opportunity about the ways in which books gain controversy.

   “Books are frequently challenged because they are about hot button topics,” Chi explained. “This includes books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. It shows students that even books we read at school are challenged.”

   Gabrielino’s library challenges are still relatively new, especially since a full year of challenges has never been completed due to the switch to virtual learning. Chi is still figuring things out, often juggling around multiple ideas per month. 

    “I’m always looking for ways for more student involvement,” Chi said.

   With frequent library-goers such as Robles taking interest in the library activities, an increase in involvement is on the horizon. After all, when caught up in a busy school atmosphere, all a student needs is a low-stakes game to get a bit of fun— or, with a little luck, an entire jar of Halloween candy.

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Monthly challenges add fun student interactions