New York Public Library to launch scavenger game


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The New York Public Library launched a website Friday to introduce a massive, smartphone-based scavenger hunt that will officially kick off May 20 with an invitation-only, all-night lock-in in New York City.

The game, which will continue through 2011, works by getting players to download an app for their iPhone or Android-based smartphones and then head to the library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building, which celebrates its centennial this year, to play (folks not near New York can play a digital version on the Web).


A hundred historical objects scattered throughout the building are affixed with bar codes; players are required to take a picture and meet a challenge at each one.

Find author Charles Dickens’ letter opener (which, fun fact of the day, is made out of his dead cat’s taxidermied paw) and you’ll be tasked to write a letter to someone you love (whether the library has assigned a worker to read through all the love notes and ensure compliance with game rules is unclear at this point).

Track down a draft of the Declaration of Independence and you’ll be asked to pen a declaration of your own.

The goal: to win the game and write a book together with participants from around the world -- ‘a collection of 100 ways to make history and change the future, inspired by 100 of the most intriguing works of the past,’ the library said in a statement Friday.

Five hundred people will be invited to spend the night at the Scharzman building May 20 for an all night write-a-thon, which will be compiled into a book too and stored in the library.

To enter for a spot, respond to the question below through the game website:


‘Just imagine who you are ten years from now. What do you want for the world? What extraordinary goal do you want to achieve? When you have a vivid picture of your future, just fill in the blanks:

‘In the year 2021, I will become the first person to _______________.’


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