Thursday, September 15, 2011

Library Programs: Harry Potter Trivia Contest

Trivia Judge Rita Skeeter

I love trivia! Any chance I get to use trivia in a program, I add it because I'm such a trivia nerd. Add in my love for Harry Potter and a Harry Potter trivia contest sounded like the perfect library program!

The idea for a Harry Potter trivia contest came from my cousin-in-law, who is one of the most Harry Potter obsessed teens that I know. She spent a year working on trivia just for the fun of it. Kaylee went through each book and came up with easy, medium, hard, and ridiculously hard questions for each chapter. (Told you she was obssessed!) With the trivia question work already done for me, I transformed it into a program.

I browsed through Kaylee's questions and pulled out ten for each book with a variety of easy to ridiculously hard since we had all ages. I tried to pick the most ridiculously hard questions because I knew we would have some hardcore fans who would know everything! I took the questions and added them to a powerpoint. I required registration for the event and said teams had to be made up of two-four people, any ages. I opened registration up for all ages and we ended up with a wide age range of contestants which made it a great multi-age program.

I've done the Harry Potter Trivia program twice-once in November when Part One of the movie was coming out and again in June before Part Two. We packed out both events with huge crowds! There were several attendees that were family members of participants or people who just wanted to watch and not play, so I had seats in the back and around the side open for non-players. For the teams, I set up tables all throughout the room. For the November event, I had movie posters of various characters, so I assigned team characters to each table. For the June event, because our numbers were so much higher, we had teams create their own names. I also had more judges the second time around (seven compared to three!) and assigned judges to each table so the judging was more spread out. Add a large whiteboard for scoring and team names and you're set!

In addition to the tables, I tried to decorate the room as much as possible. Harry Potter posters hung all around, the library's statue of Dobby stood at a place of honor, cauldrons and wands decorated the tables. I used any and all Harry Potter decor the library had collected over the years.

I made sure no one entered until it was time to start. With Hedwig's Theme playing in the background as everyone entered, the judges welcomed the teams (aka-O.W.L. exams takers!) into Hogwarts. Judges included Aberforth Dumbledore, Hermione, Ginny, Rita Skeeter, Professor Trelawney, and a few muggles. Having a big entrace adds to the fun and everyone got a kick of coming into a big announcement of "Welcome, welcome, one and all to the O.W.L. exams at Hogwarts!"

Now to start the trivia game! To make it easiest on everyone, each team had a chance to answer any and all questions. I provided each team with paper and pencils and had them number 1-10. As the questions were asked, they could talk to teammates and write down the answers. Questions could be repeated if needed throughout the round and once everyone was satisfied wi th the all the repeats, answer sheets were turned in to the assigned judge. As each round was being asked, the judges were busy grading the answers. After each round, one appointed judge would tally all the team totals on the whiteboard. We announced the team totals after the third and sixth rounds.

Of course we were prepared for a tie-breaker and asked three tie-breaker questions and tried to make them extremely hard! The winning team won the House Cup, complete with bookmarks, movie tickets, and candy. We also had a second place prize of gift certficates to area businesses.

The whole event lasted about two hours, depending on the number of teams and how many times you have to repeat questions. If you do any sort of trivia contest, make sure to site the source for your answers as there is sure to be someone who wants to debate it! For this contest, having the chapter and page number of the answer helped. It might even be a good idea to have the books on hand for those who want to challenge can look up the answer in the end.

Both events we hosted were huge hits and easy to run. It was a great program to bring in all ages-we had teams of tweens to teams of adults and teams that had all ages. Everyone had a blast and asked when we would hold another one. We're going to try trivia again this Winter with a 80s/90s Pop Culture Triva Night. If you get a chance to host a trivia event, I highly recommend it!!


  1. This sounds fantastic. I'm a total trivia hound, too. I may have to "borrow" your OWLs exam idea, lol! Love it!!

  2. This sounds like so much fun. I wish my library did something like this!

  3. ugh. i totally wish a could go to your library. it sounds awesome! and you have a dobby statue?! that's so cool!

  4. Hi this is great to c i am also running a movie and trivia night in the library, was wondering if your willing to share your questions?


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