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The upcoming Special Collections Roadshow at the Main University Library offers Special Collections staff the opportunity to share what we do with our colleagues across library services. The Roadshow will take place on Monday 11th September.

Reader Services were asked to contribute our expertise and activities/displays for the day.

We settled on the idea for a board game, based on the classic Cluedo board, where players would move around the board to collect certain materials that would in turn allow them to “retrieve” their specified archive or rare book item from a locked room on the board.

The board game would mirror the daily real life procedures of Reader Services staff as we use our resources and knowledge to retrieve the material readers have requested, eg. keys required to unlock book cases on the historic library floor, approval from curators for restricted manuscripts, and trolleys needed to transport large heavy books.

Whoever retrieves their item and returns it to the reader waiting in the reading room first wins.

The board game started with a basic template that we gradually allocated John Rylands locations to, such as the cellars and mezzanine.

Curious Board Game 2

Then we created a mock up of the board game, and practised playing it amongst ourselves so we knew it worked, and whether it was fun to play.

Curious Board Game 3

Finally our coordinator Kate created the final template, using photographs of John Rylands Library locations taken by our colleague Fiona. This was then printed on a custom made board.

Curious Board Game

All that remains is for staff across library services to play the Reader Services Board Game at the Special Collections Roadshow for themselves. We hope that it informs players of the processes Reader Services staff must go through to retrieve material, and that it is educational but above all entertaining.