I ran this MP3 Flash Mob event during March Break 2015 as one station at a big exploratory event called Idea Factory. It was one of the zaniest library experiences I’ve had yet – and I loved it!
What is it?
During an MP3 Flash Mob (popularized by Improv Everywhere), everyone wears headphones, has the same MP3 file on a device, gathers in one place, and presses play at the same time. They participate with a story by following wacky, fun instructions and creating a spectacle. A great way to show that libraries are “more than just books!”
Individuals picked up MP3 devices and a bag of props at the booth. Once a group of 5-15 gathered, we counted down and pressed PLAY at the same time. The 10 minute MP3 file was a combination of voice, music, and sound effects. By following the instructions, the groups participated in a story and helped “save the library!” Approximately 30 kids cycled through the flash mob in 5 separate sessions.
Who is it for?
Anyone over the age of 5. The “flash mob” aspect will appeal to adults, teens, and older children. The silly adventure will appeal to younger children…and everyone else!
What will they do?
Participants will be immersed in a story. There will be a typical “call to action” and they will work together to save the library from a group of invisible do-badders. Some ideas for highly engaging tasks that could contribute to a story:
- Chanting a silly phrase loudly until something happens
- Contributing to an art piece (i.e. every group draws a “library dragon” on a large sheet of paper)
- Making up a new name for themselves and writing it on a name tag
- Using props dramatically (i.e. fake sword fight to dramatic music)
- Spreading out in the library and simultaneously yelling the same message
- Creating music (i.e. use unconventional materials as instruments to play along with music on the device)
- High five as many non-participants as possible
- Gradually find items, put them together to form one item, and trade that item for a prize at the end
- Every participant gets a button that says“MP3 Adventure Participant #”
- They will occasionally have to organize themselves according to the numbers
- #1 will have a special task
- Participants will be given a bag of props including
- Name Tag Sticker
- #1 has a note in an envelope that reads “Did you know that you can download graphic novels and other books onto e-readers or your computer?”
- Other materials to be set up at stations:
- Large piece of paper covering a table
- Pile of books
- Costume box
- Red arrows from Station 1 to 2
- Blue path way winding from 2 to 1
- MP3 file was created using free audio editing software Audacity, and staff members as voice actors.
- Introduction – Mister Biblio introduces himself and explains that a dragon has been messing with the library
- Heroes chose new names
- Heroes make playdough animals while story is explained (will be used later)
- Darla Dragon appears and challenges heroes to a task
- Heroes high five as many people in the library as possible
- Darla Dragon appears and lets the fire fairies into the library
- Heroes travel to Station #2
- Heroes must dress up in disguise and freeze on the spot
- Heroes must draw fire fairy collaboratively
- Heroes must call out to the fairies
- Heroes must talk to the fairies
- Hero #1 must hold up secret note
- Darla Dragon appears
- Heroes use books to “paddle” down an imaginary river back to Station #1
- Heroes must set out their playdough animals to distract Darla
- Darla loves the animals
- Darla accepts the heroes and realizes that they can all share the library
- Darla and Mister Biblio “get back together”
- Give yourselves a cheer
- Ending blurb about the library
Idea Exchange is an innovative, loud, dynamic, community space – and Flash Mobs fit in perfectly. If you want to try your hand at a new type of mob you’re in luck! Borrow one of our MP3 devices, join a team of 5-10, press play on our custom designed MP3 file, and follow the instructions. You’ll get a chance to meet new people, travel to another dimension, create collaborative art, fight off dragons, and even save the library! Just bring a sense of adventure and enthusiasm…and maybe a pair of dragon repellent boots!
How to do one at your library?
- Write a fun script! Use local references, and mention specific things in your library so that it feels special and real.
- Get excitable voice actors! Children’s programmers are probably your best bet. Or get some teen volunteers to play some characters.
- Use royalty free music
- Ask for MP3 Player donations. I found out that many staff members had old MP3 players that they didn’t need anymore.
- Learn Audacity. There are lots of online resources to help learn the software.
- Check out my blog post: Flash Mobs in the Library? Tips for Success.
Listen to our MP3 File:
Images for Buttons:
If you have any questions, please let me know! I’d be happy to help.