Locked in a library — and only Jane Austen can help you escape

Jane Austen died 200 years ago this year, but fascination around the celebrated author hasn't waned — so much so, in fact, that a P.E.I. library is offering an escape room with an Austen theme this Wednesday.

Montague library finds creative way to attract readers

Jane Austen books remain 'very popular' at libraries such as the one in Montague. (Public Domain)

Jane Austen died 200 years ago this year, but fascination around the celebrated author hasn't waned — so much so, in fact, that a P.E.I. library is offering an escape room with an Austen theme this Wednesday. 

Escape rooms are a popular form of entertainment in which a group of people are locked in a room and must decipher a series of clues in order to break free. 

"Seeing people excited about reading is something that we're always striving for, so it's always nice to see that in our spaces," said Grace Dawson, librarian at the Montague Rotary Library. 

Anybody is welcome to come to the free event, and it already has several confirmed attendees from a Jane Austen book club that uses the church across the street from the library. 

Library staff are coming up with the puzzles and clues from Austen's novels Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Montague library staffer Krystal Dionne promises Jane Austen fans will have fun solving clues about the author and her novels to escape a locked room. (Submitted by Montague Rotary Library )

Participants aren't allowed to use the internet to solve the riddles, but "we're not trying to make it too hard — we're focusing more on the popular parts of her novels and popular characters for the clues," Dawson said.

"She's very popular — her books continue to go out at the library," Dawson said. "She definitely has relevance in modern day as well." 

Fresh ideas from libraries

Libraries across P.E.I. continue to brainstorm fresh ideas to bring readers old and new through their doors.

"We want to offer programming that the public is interested in," Dawson said. "Whether it's information sessions, or PD day programming for kids — we're always trying to offer different types of programming that's really going to be valuable and meaningful, and fun of course." 

The library has previously had escape rooms for young teens based on Dr. Seuss books, and another that asked kids to crack a code. 

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca