Emerging Technologies Action Plan: Trivia Night


The idea for trivia at a local pub was created from experience and countless discussions of how difficult it is to make new friends outside of work and school, without a Young Professionals networking event or a friend-making app like Bumble. I liked the idea of a book club held in a bar like Professor Stephens mentioned, but the institution I am designing the program for already has a book club held at a Barnes and Noble Kitchen, which serves beer and wine. I knew I wanted something similar that would appeal to a wider range of the community to include people who wouldn’t consider themselves readers. Trivia night off-site is a participatory service that could allow participants to be in a setting to meet new people but would also create an opportunity for library staff to promote the library to non-users.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

This new regularly held trivia night program could reap a lot of benefits by creating a stronger relationship with the community through a form of outreach. It would create goodwill between a local business and the library, which could facilitate opportunities to work with other local businesses. The program itself could be an excellent form of promotion for the library simply by being out in the public, as well as through any fliers at the venue and the website events page. It could raise awareness of the library as an organization that provides more than just books.

Trivia night could also promote a collaborative environment and provide a place for participants to meet new people, make connections, and be exposed to alternative points of view and cultures in an open and fun setting. “[Participatory Design] can bring in new voices and build new empathy” (Young, 2017). This program has the benefit of exposing both library users and non-library users to library programming outside of the traditional library environment.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

This service would engage 20-somethings and 30-somethings (ages 21-39) of all backgrounds who live in the Sacramento area.

About the Institution:

According to Library 2.0: “We must describe the current state of our library or department and identify what needs to be improved or accomplished to make the proposed changes work.” (Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L., 2007). The Folsom Public Library is suburban and hosts many families. Many of the services already in place are for the benefit of that large demographic within the community. However, there is also a population of 20-and-30-somethings in the area who are not being specifically targeted for programming, other than the Y.A. for Adults book club (It’s O.K. to Read Y.A.). It’s O.K. to Read Y.A. is led by the teen librarian and is intended for adults of any age 20+ who enjoy reading young adult materials. Other than this single monthly program, there are few programs or services created to benefit this demographic. This trivia program will hopefully begin to correct that and appeal to millennial-aged members of the community who may have less interest in books and more interest in making connections.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince 20-and-30-somethings that by participating in librarian-led trivia at a pub, they will make new connections, which will promote goodwill and new friendships within our community because the library is a tool which can help create new and positive relationships within the community.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Fort Bragg Library (2019, January 9). Brew pub book club. https://fortbragglibrary.org/brew-pub-book-club/

Glen Ellyn Public Library (2020, March). Trivia night at North Side Bar and Grill. https://gepl.org/event/trivia-night-at-north-side-bar-grill-3/

Hill, Cheryl (2017, November 30). Program model: Trivia night. https://programminglibrarian.org/programs/trivia-night

White, L. (2013, January 18). Letters to a Young Librarian. https://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-modern-book-club-meets-in-bar-by.html

Mission Hall Library (2020, March). https://mhl.org/adult-program/2020/pub-trivia-andolinis

Scott, Chey (2018, August 30). Test yo’self at Spokane Public Library’s new pub trivia night. https://www.inlander.com/spokane/test-yoself-at-spokane-public-librarys-new-pub-trivia-night/Content?oid=11973393

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

I connected briefly via I.M. chat with a librarian at Memorial Hall Library in Massachusetts who helps run their program Pub Trivia at Andolini’s. To implement my own program, I would speak to her and other librarians who have implemented a similar service in more detail about their policies, budgeting and problems they’ve run into. In our short conversation, I learned that Mission Hall’s program was initially intended for millennials, but mostly older people attend. Keeping this in mind, I selected the Fat Rabbit as my trivia location, which I believe is millennial friendly because the food is delicious and on the affordable end (for students with smaller budgets, new home owners, or just those being frugal), the atmosphere is low-key, and I already know it to be appealing to people of all ages. The seating is also arranged in a way that could easily accommodate teams, and parking is not an issue with a nearby parking structure.

The library director will be the ultimate person to approve the program and help create the program’s policies so that they align with the library’s current policies and mission.

The program will be monthly with a prize for the winning team, and hosted by two librarians, or one librarian and one paraprofessional library staff member. Teams participating can be between 1-6 people. Spokane Public Library gives out a bonus point to teams that bring their library cards to their library trivia night. This is a great way to encourage people to come to the library and get a library card, so I would also provide this incentive.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

This program would require a tiny budget. At most, it would require a donation from the Friends of the Library for the prize. The Memorial Hall Library in Massachusetts has a pub trivia program at a local bar and the prize is $50.00 donated by their Friends of the Library. I would collaborate with the Fat Rabbit to see if they would be willing to sponsor the winning team’s prize in exchange for bringing in customers. However, if they did not agree to this, I would request that the Friends of the Library donate prize money instead. The Friends of the Folsom Library funds all the library’s programming anyway, in addition to donating used books and providing money to purchase new books.

Action Steps & Timeline: 

This project’s timeline is mostly limited to the time it would take to acquire approval from the Library Director and possibly the City Manager, and to collaborate with the Fat Rabbit.

Primary action steps:

  1. Create Action Plan
  2. Acquire approval from Library Director/City Manager
  3. Contact the Fat Rabbit/ Iron out details for seating, dates/times, prizes, sound system, etc.
  4. Select primary staff members to facilitate
  5. Marketing/Promotion
  6. Selection of trivia questions/other prep

If the Library Director and/or the City Manager does not agree to this program, I would adjust it to accommodate their concerns. For example, if they did not want it to be held at a pub, I would suggest a restaurant instead, or if they wanted it open to all ages, I would prepare it to be for all ages.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Trivia night would require staff, but the Folsom Library already holds a monthly Y.A. for Adults book club held off-site at 6:30 at the local Barnes and Noble Kitchen. The lead librarian for the book club program works a later shift from 11:30am-8pm. Trivia would follow the same routine and the two hosting staff members work a later shift, so it would not require additional funding for staffing. The trivia would be hosted on a Tuesday or a Wednesday evening because those are the days the library is already open until 8pm and the staff members can complete their usual work on-site at the library and then leave to host the trivia. The two regular library staff members would be the go-to staff to organize and facilitate the program, but it would be prudent to give a third person all the information necessary to run the event if for whatever reason one of the others could not make it.

The only real time commitment to prepare would be to acquire trivia questions. Cheryl Hill of the West Linn Public Library (linked above in the Resource section) explains that this is a time-consuming task and suggests locating questions while on the Reference Desk. To start, we would follow her example to minimize the impact on staff time commitment.

Training for this Technology or Service:

This service would require no training other than sharing details about setup, locating questions, and marketing with other staff members.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

  • Create digital flyer for the TV mounted on the wall above the self-check
  • Create paper flyers or have bookmarks printed with the Trivia Night information to be placed on the Circulation and Adult Information desks
  • Post about the event on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  • Put the information on the website, especially on the main rotating banner
  • Post flyers throughout the community on public bulletin boards
  • See if the Fat Rabbit will post flyers and advertise it on their website


If trivia night is considered useful-or simply fun-for the community, the program could be expanded by holding themed trivia nights (Harry Potter trivia, anyone?) and be held at other bars or pubs. If we had interest from a younger crowd, we could also host trivia for teens and children at the library or some other family-friendly location.

Attendance would be one way to evaluate the program, but I would create a survey to assess what people liked about it or thought could improve it. One of the core tenets of participatory service is providing opportunities for users to have input in the planning and evaluation of library services (Stephens, 2020). I would also talk directly to the attendees to get a feel for how the program is received and if it should be changed- do they want a different location, different time, different day of the week, different rules, or do they not want trivia at all? It is important to remember that libraries exist to serve their communities and meet their needs- information needs, but also entertainment and the underlying human necessity for connection.


Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today

Stephens, Michael (2020). Participatory Service & Transparency [Web Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=35b4e981-cd58-479a-96d3-aab3011b0f24

Young, S.W.H. (2017, September 13). Participatory Design in Action: The User Experience. Retrieved from Title of webpage/article. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=participatory-design-action-user-experience

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Emerging Technologies Action Plan: Trivia Night

  1. Oh my, Stephanie, I love this idea!
    The target group of 20 to 30 somethings is a wonderful one. There are so many programming focuses on youth and teens, and I think when it comes to college age and young career folks, and/or those beginning to experience “adulting” they get left by the wayside. The other interest I had was that I have been to the Fat Rabbit! My partner and I were on a little vacation and we somehow found this quaint little spot. It seems like a great venue. There were a lot of 20 and 30 -somethings there, but also some other older folks that might like to mingle (compete in Trivia) with the younger folks–myself included! I love the idea of bringing your library card for bonus points, as an incentive and a subconscious reminder of the library. So much fun to read your post! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi,

      I completely agree as well. I’ve always wondered how to best target 20 – 35 year olds. They are never in the library and rarely know about all the amazing (and FREE) stuff we have to offer. I think it’s a great way to get younger people to associate themselves with libraries again! Great idea.

    • Hi Katie!
      I agree, it seems like there is a large chunk of the population that is not being targeted for programming! As a member of that age group, I know I would appreciate having programming created for me and others in situations similar to mine. That’s so funny that you have been to the Fat Rabbit! I love it because it’s very cozy and homey but has fantastic food and a decent selection of drinks.

  2. This is a wonderful idea. Back in the day when I was a 20-30 something year old I attended trivia night at the local TGIFridays, which was held on Thursdays at 7pm. Sometimes I would play by myself, but eventually would team up with the people (or person) I sat next to. It was a great way to meet people and to play the game together. I would have never thought of incorporating a library to help conduct these events, but now that I have read your plan I think it’s a great way to expose the library, get young adults together, and have some fun.

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