Library BINGO

Bingo Numbers/Leo Reynolds/CC BY-NC-SA

I just finished up with a Composition I class playing library BINGO. My twitter update drew some interest so I thought a brief explanation might be in order.

There are 3 general education classes I visit every term : Pathways to Student Success, Composition I, and Composition II. I have created a information literacy program with these 3 classes at the heart of it – building search and evaluation strengths as students progress through each term.

Composition I is my favorite because we play Library BINGO.

At the start of the class a give a 10-15 minute explanation and demonstration of accessing the library website, different search functions, databases, collections, and research guides. I talk about why it’s important not to just rely on Google but to search through these reliable, in-depth resources to support school assignments, and how they might use these skills in the workplace.

Then I pass out BINGO cards. I have 4 different cards with the numbers 1-25 scattered differently. This allows students to work together as a team and help each other but not allow 1 student to carry the other entirely. They are also given a 3-page handout with 25 different questions.


Complete the citation (APA Format):

  1. Hawn, R. (2009). _________________. Parks & Recreation, 44(1), 34-38. Retrieved from
  2. Search for “aneurysm” in the title field in the Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition database. How many results do you retrieve? Now limit the search to academic (scholarly journals). What is the number of your results now?
  3. Using the Simple Search Box locate an electronic book written about the Iditarod. Provide the title and author.

5-in-a-row gets them BINGO. I check the answers to make sure they are all correct. If not, I provide some advice about locating the correct answer and give them a chance to correct it. For every BINGO a student gets, I let them choose a piece of candy. They are allowed to work for more than 1 BINGO. This gives students who catch on faster an incentive to keep working and not play around or distract the others in the class.

I like this activity because it encourages them to use the different library resources and become more comfortable with them in a supportive setting -where they can ask their peers or me for help. (Since we all know students like to ask their friends for help)

Disclaimer: Library BINGO was not my brain child. I know I read about it in an information literacy book but off the top-of-my-head I can’t claim what one. It is also similar to a scavenger hunt I know many academic libraries do including an information literacy session I had as an undergrad at Michigan State. But this has become a cornerstone of my program at school and I think its effectiveness lies (in part) on the looser environment and the hands-on experience.


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