Pennsylvania Library Creates a Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

Emily Stochl

Staff Writer

Emily is a proud Midwesterner, living in Iowa. Reading literary fiction has always been her favorite. She also enjoys yoga and tending to her hundreds of houseplants -- you might say Emily is a bit “crunchy granola." She is the producer and host of a podcast about vintage and second-hand style, called Pre-Loved Podcast. She’s really into sustainability, and old things! IG: @emilymstochl

If you’re the bookish friend in your social network, you might have noticed an uptick in people asking you for engaging and distracting books to read during self-isolation. Same. And honestly, part of me just wants to tell people that now is a great time to re-read something like Harry Potter that will whisk you away, and also provide the comfort of familiarity and nostalgia.

As I’m thinking this very thought about escapist reads, Book Riot came across the news that a library in Pennsylvania has created a Hogwarts Digital Escape Room — what a perfect distraction!

Like most public libraries across the United States, the Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania is closed to the public, but still making an effort to serve their constituents. Kudos to them for this very creative idea!

The Peters Township Public Library is located 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA, and it is an award-winning library that has been serving the community for over 60 years. But I’m sure in 1957, when the library was founded, no one envisioned that “serving the community” would mean designing digital escape rooms that people could play on their home computers while isolated during a pandemic. What a brilliant reminder that libraries are more than just a place you can check out books!

If you’re not familiar with the concept of escape rooms, they are usually an in-person, themed, adventure game. Groups are required to find hidden clues and solve puzzles in order to proceed through the game. According to The Escape Game, escape rooms became very popular in recent years because they are “a whole new way of experiencing storytelling. By combining a social activity with interactive adventures and challenging puzzles, escape game players are immersed in an entirely different world”

Digital escape rooms have become a popular tool with teachers because they are a fun way to introduce classroom lessons, puzzles, and problem solving. This video with a second-grade classroom teacher, shows a step-by-step on how to create a digital escape room in Google Forms. If you’re interested in creating a digital escape room, either for your now distance-learning classroom or just for a distraction, she says this activity was free for her to create, and took about three hours.

Like the digital escape room created by the second-grade teacher, the Hogwarts Digital Escape Room is also created in Google Forms. I found myself doing wizard math with Sickles, Knuts, and Galleons, and let me tell you, it was just the distraction I needed. Enjoy!