Awards and Honors, Staff

Library Receives Innovation Award for Alternate Reality Game

Emily King and Chad Haefele helped lead development of "Should Brandon and Nicole Get Engaged?"

The University Library is the inaugural winner of the Springshare Innovation in Academic Libraries Award, from the Academic Division of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). The award was presented June 13 in Philadelphia, during the association’s annual meeting.

The award honors the project “Should Brandon and Nicole Get Engaged?” (ShBANGE). The interactive alternate reality game was played out on the UNC campus in spring 2010.

Two UNC  librarians, Chad Haefele and Emily King, helped lead development of ShBANGE. The School of Information and Library Science and the Teaching and Learning division of UNC’s Information Technology Services were development partners.

ShBANGE began with a mock wedding proposal in the Pit. Participants then followed a URL to an online gaming adventure involving puzzles such as a stereogram, riddles, a NATO encoding puzzle, and a crossword puzzle. Each activity included as many areas of the academic curriculum as possible, and many involved fragmentary clues solvable only by sharing.

At one point, students were led to a hollowed-out book in Davis Library containing a USB with further game instructions. Additional puzzles were posted on blogs, social media, and even in balloons that volunteers distributed to unsuspecting participants.

SLA’s award committee praised ShBANGE as a successful and forward-thinking way to help students build information literacy skills through an interactive and engaging experience.

Rebecca Vargha, librarian for UNC’s Information and Library Science Library, and a former president of SLA, accepted the $500 award on behalf of the Library.

In March, Haefele and King were recognized by Library Journal as “Movers & Shakers of 2011” for their role in ShBANGE.

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