An ARG to increase teen engagement in their local libraries

Created for six sister libraries in Ashtabula County, Ohio over the course of one semester at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center, the U-7 ARG is a three-pronged approach to increase teen engagement in their local library and community. Rooted in local history and popular culture, the ARG experience takes place over the span of a week, where teens will hunt for a creature escaped from an abandoned uranium refinery by solving puzzles, searching for physical landmarks, and meeting at their local libraries to film videos and make memes. After the conclusion of the game, the teens are given access to a special in-library tool that our team created so that they can make their own ARG experiences and share them with each other. Additionally, the librarians were provided with a guide on how to facilitate the ARG, operate the tool, evaluate current activities for teen engagement, and create new programs to engage the teens in the library long-term.  

Some examples of puzzles in the game


Constructed a compelling narrative based in Ashtabula history

Designed over 20 puzzles of varying difficulty

Developed a tool to allow for teens to create their own ARG experiences for each other