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Chicago Public Library Engages Teens With Its Own ‘Hunger Games’

'The Hunger Games'

‘The Hunger Games’ (Credit: Lionsgate)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Next week, the movie based on the popular trilogy “The Hunger Games” premieres and the Chicago Public Library’s Teen Volume program is trying to capitalize on it with a life-sized game loosely based on the trilogy.

In all, 23 teens ranging in age from 13 to 18 took the challenge in the Hunger Games Live Action Survive Game Thursday at the Harold Washington Library. It kept them engrossed from beginning to end.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Some of the teens cried out, “One of you must die,” in the sudden death round to the laughs of others participating.

The Teen Volume game starts out with the teens creating special names as icebreakers. That’s followed by a test to determine ruthlessness, based on the old standby “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” and another to determine stealth, as others try to retrieve a roll of tape from behind someone sitting in a chair, with eyes closed.

A teen who knows survival tactics is the one most likely to survive the questions hurled in the 20-square arena that is the game’s climax. Marcus Adenuga, 18, won the game Thursday at the Harold Washington Library’s YOUMedia room.

He said he is not a particularly big Hunger Games fan — he’s only on the first chapter of the first book. But he said he has liked action and survival books since he was able to read, starting with the first book in the Harry Potter series.

“I like survival game stories. I recently finished one from Japan,” he said. “That was great. Hopefully this will stack up.”

Some may fret about the violence in the books and movie, but not Ursula Gruber, who moderated the Live Action game at the Harold Washington Library.

“In fact, the Hunger Games is currently so popular that my adult book club had to schedule an extra section just to discuss the third book in the trilogy,” she said.

She said virtually every teen she knows who has ready the books like them.

“It has a little bit of romance but a lot of adventure,” she said.

Gruber said the Live Action game being conducted at Chicago Public Libraries was the creation of the Library of Games group in its New Media department, underwent test runs with staff, including icebreakers its Teen Advisory Council thought would be “the most fun.”

The library’s Teen Volume program has scheduled similar games at several libraries over the next two weeks. Among them are 1 p.m. Saturday at the Lozano Branch Library, 1805 S. Loomis St.; 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Richard J. Daley Branch, 3400 S. Halsted St.; and 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Dunning Branch, 7455 W. Cornelia Av.

Other dates and times can be found online at the library system’s Web site.