Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Cindy Crushes Programming: Talking Virtual Teen Trivia with Faith Healy, by Teen Librarian Cindy Shutts

Teen Trivia with Faith Healy

One of the most successful teen programs we are running virtually at the White Oak Library District is monthly Trivia. My co-worker Faith Healy has been running it since we started. I asked Faith to explain how we do trivia at the library.

Interview with Faith Healy

Hello Faith, Welcome back. Today we are talking about Trivia with teens. At White Oak Library District we do trivia once a month. How do you pick the theme for trivia?

It varies from month to month on how I pick. The first time we did trivia virtually I did a fandom event which combined a bunch of different questions from different popular fandoms. My secret goal of this event was to gather intel on what fandoms the teens got most correct and filed it for future use. We also collect feedback from our teens in what they would like to do such as Percy Jackson Trivia which we did recently and it was a huge success. Teens really loved it. Other times I pick themes that I am into such as Anime Trivia, which did OK. Not a huge turn out, but those who played loved it, or Hamilton Trivia, another hugely popular one that we had to do a second event as some teens were sad that couldn’t attend on our original date!  I try to stay on top of what teens like and how to make that into a fun trivia event while throwing in a few things I love. I find it easier to make up questions when you love the topic you are working on. I did struggle writing the Percy Jackson Trivia as I only read Trials of Apollo and Heroes of Olympus and not the OG series, but luckily I had an amazing co-worker who had my back and came up with great questions! Trivia topics we have coming up are Broadway, Star Wars, and Animals! We are also considering doing a Witches and Wizards trivia as well in the future.

We use Kahoot. How do you create trivia on Kahoot? What are the pros and cons of using Kahoot?

So Kahoot is great for virtual trivia! We tried a virtual trivia without Kahoot as our first one and ran into issues such as a teen’s sound not working properly, or we couldn’t hear their answers. Kahoot allows them to answer without talking. It lets you do multiple choice answers and true and false, at least for the basic. For the free version it does limit you to max of 10 players as well as the types of questions you have access to. I would love to guess the photo round where it shows a part of the image and increases as time goes on, but that is only in the paid option. So far I had made fun trivia questions with the free option so that is what my library will be using in the future. I would say play around with it and consider if the free version works for you or if you need to shell out the money. Another thing is once Kahoot is playing I don’t have control over the scoring. We had some teens click the right answer, but it did not translate to their score. We did find a work around by giving a free hint for any question they have trouble with to help up their score.

We also use zoom. How does using zoom work along with Kahoot?

Using zoom and kahoot is easy enough, you simply get it ready on your computer and share your screen on zoom. We do have a problem of the teen’s losing connection and needing to pop back in, but we always have 2-3 teen librarians present so someone can run the Kahoot and someone can let teens in when need be. We also experience some lag in which the teens don’t see the questions as fast as they appear. To get around this I have been reading the questions aloud. Other than those issues, teens have been having a fun time using kahoot and zoom. Plus we have been using the chat function to share upcoming events and give out hints.

What are some things you wish you know about running trivia in the beginning of the pandemic?

I wish I know about Kahoot sooner, it does make things easier. Plus when teens like a subject but don’t know an answer it is multiple choice upping their chances of getting it correct. I know I plan to continue to use Kahoot for in person as well as virtual. It is also ok for themes to fail it helps you know what your teens like or dislike. Also that while theme baskets might be fun to make, a gift card appeals more to teens, plus is more cost effective.

What types of trivia work best?

Definitely popular themes work best, Percy Jackson and Hamilton were such popular trivia. We definitely plan to do an all new Percy Jackson in the future given its popularity and Hamilton is why we are trying out a broadway edition which is fun! I also tend to avoid the boring trivia questions like what year did this come out in favor of fun trivia rounds. For example, Percy Jackson, we did Claim the Camper, They had to figure out who was the camper’s godly parent, Guess the God, they are given a vague characteristic of god and had to guess who it describes, Where’s that from? Where we named a plot point and they had to quess if it was from the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, Trials of Apollo, or the Movie. (Yes it is bad, but some teens might like it). Name that Tune, listen to 20 seconds of Percy Jackson Musical Song and quess the name, turns out not a lot of kids have listen to the musical), and Finish the Prophecy which is self explanatory. Teens have more fun with these rounds and really enjoyed them.

What input are the teens giving about trivia?

They are vocal about what theme’s they want us to try out. The Percy Jackson Trivia attendants even asked to be in an email list for when we do another one. Getting feedback from teens is the best. Also when you make an answer wrong they will call you out on it.

Thank you and Stay safe. Any final tips or tricks?

Don’t be afraid to try new things or themes! Also Kahoot allows sharing of trivia games. After we play a round of trivia, I tend to make mine public for everyone to see. They are a bunch of games already created for you to try, I just really like to make my own. I also add in bonus questions for fun like what is my personal favorite Hamilton songs and for the options I make them all correct. It helps the teens get more points and they get to know you!

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching Fire, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.


  1. Cindy! You are incredible!

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