Young Adult



'Doctor Who' Trivia Contest

In our "Doctor Who" trivia contest, older kids, teenagers and adults played as teams competing against each other in several rounds. Prizes, based on the BBC series, were provided for the first-, second- and third-place teams. (See "Attachments" at right for trivia questions and answers.)

Advanced Planning

We started working on this idea about four months beforehand. After the success of another "Doctor Who" program — celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary the previous year — I decided to try a trivia contest.

I had help from a children’s librarian on staff and also from a few volunteers that were "Whovians" (a self-given name for fans of the show). The goal was just to provide a fun event and to promote our collection of "Doctor Who" books available for checkout. Planning consisted of deciding on the contest format, developing trivia questions and gathering prizes for the winners.


Our system has a public information office, and they design all the fliers for our programs. They produced fliers of various sizes (11x17, 8.5x11 and 4x6) for the event. I posted the 11x17 in our lobby and the smaller sizes throughout the library, including with a display featuring "Doctor Who" books. I also took fliers to some local businesses that allow us to post, and it was shared on the library’s social media sites. The fliers were posted about one month before the program.


The only cost incurred for the event was for the "Doctor Who"-themed prizes. Since it was team trivia, I limited the number of players on the team to five and then wanted to make sure each team member (from the top three teams) could have a prize. I was fortunate to receive some prize donations from staff members, but the majority of prizes were purchased. 

I was also lucky to have snacks provided by a volunteer, which eliminated some of the costs.

Day-of-event Activity

The day of the event, set-up consisted of putting out tables and chairs. The program required registration, so I had an estimate of how many to expect. There were about 18 people signed up, so I set up enough tables and chairs for 30 in case more people showed. I also set up a microphone so people could hear me clearly when I read the questions.

I was the only staff member at the beginning of the program, along with two volunteers. I had another staff member arrive halfway through the program to help with refilling refreshments and with clean-up. The only unexpected challenge was trying to put together a stand-up cardboard TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) that I had purchased for people to take photos with, if they desired.

Program Execution

The program was attended by 22 people, although some were just there to watch and not participate. The feedback was positive and everyone seemed to have a great time. A few of our "Doctor Who" books were checked out.

The format for the contest consisted of 10 questions asked during three rounds. (See Attachments at right for the questions and answers.) Every team was given sheets of paper to write their answers down. After each round, we took a break while I gathered up their answer sheets and graded them. Each question was worth points (three points in the first round, four in the second, and five in the third) and the questions got harder as the rounds progressed. In the fourth and final round there was only one question — the hardest of all — which was worth 50 points. Teams were awarded full credit for each correct answer. We did not award partial credit. 

Once the final points were tallied, I announced the winners and then let the first-place team pick out a prize from our prize table. Prizes included a "Doctor Who" comic book, posters, a koozie and a few t-shirts. Once they picked, the second-place team picked their prize, then the third-place team.

The entire program took about an hour.


As more people attended the program than signed up, I suggest planning for more people than are registered (e.g., extra chairs and food).

It would also be easy to reduce cost by designing the contest for individuals instead of teams. In that case, only one prize would be needed for the first-, second-, and third-place winners. Also, local businesses might be willing to donate prizes, though I did not attempt that.

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