The TRU Library brings in crowds for escape room

The Kamloops Public Library and TRU joined together to make an escape room for Freedom to Read Week

The first team of six raced through the library to solve the puzzle in speedy time. (Aidan Grether/The Omega)

Right now in Kamloops, we are lucky to not have any books that are banned from our libraries, and to most people that seems normal, but for others, it’s very out of the norm.

Feb. 23 to 29 was Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Freedom to Read is a program that helps spread awareness about banned and challenged books and spreads the message that books should not be banned and we should have the right to read anything and learn.

The public library in Kamloops teamed up with the library at TRU who hosted an escape room. Meg Ross, a Librarian at the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library, has hosted a few of these escape rooms at the public library with themes like Harry Potter, and one for the summer reading club.

The one held at the library at TRU was called Escape the Library and for anyone who was unable to attend, will also be held at the public library in May for their Geek Week. The actual dates and more information on this will be coming out in the library program guide in early March.

The library at TRU is hoping to host another escape room in the future as this one was quite successful with 44 people participating throughout the day. Each group went in on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they had a half-hour to complete. The groups varied from 2 to 7 people in each group, and the fastest group managed to complete the escape room in 16 minutes.

Meg Ross and one of the TRU librarians Julia Wells explained how there are constantly books that are challenged over their subject matter in Canada. On the Freedom to Read website, there is a link to a page that has some of the works that have been challenged. On the list, you can find a variety of literature, such as Bridge to Terabithia, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Goosebumps series, the Bible, the Harry Potter series, To Kill a Mockingbird, and many, many more. When they say these books have been challenged, they mean someone has gone and made a formal complaint about the books. Sometimes it’s people who took the book out themselves, and sometimes it’s angry parents who didn’t want their child to learn about the subject matter in the books.

Only one book has been banned in Kamloops that Ross can remember, The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. In 1992 the Kamloops school board took this book out of its libraries but has since been allowed back into libraries, though it is still on a list of challenged books.