Bigger on the Inside: Doctor Who at the Library

by Barratt Miller, Crook County Library

Crook County Library’s teens love Doctor Who. Like, a lot. They made up a Weeping Angels game during downtime at a program last fall and debate “who’s the best Doctor?” at pretty much every program. (The answer, according to most of them, is Matt Smith.) So it was pretty much a given that we were going to celebrate the 50th Anniversary Special with a Doctor Who-themed Late Night at the library.

Tardis parked in the Crook County Library

Tardis parked in the Crook County Library

Step 1: Build a TARDIS

The TARDIS may look like an ordinary blue police box, but it’s actually a spaceship/time machine…that’s bigger on the inside. Kristen Dyer, one of our awesome Youth Services Associates, built ours using a refrigerator box donated by a local appliance store. She wrapped the box in blue poster paper, used a Sharpie to trace the panels on the sides, and assembled the other details using construction paper, cardboard, and printouts from Publisher. Our light was a chick feeder filled with battery-powered tea lights. I provided the sound effects by playing a TARDIS ringtone on my phone’s app store.

Protip: Don’t tape down the roof of your TARDIS until it’s in your program location.

We assembled the TARDIS in my office and realized that it was wider than the door after the roof was taped down. (This would not have been a problem if we’d been working with an actual TARDIS. Alas.) I had to rip it apart, transport it to the program location, and frantically reassemble it with paper scraps and packing tape. Make sure you can fold your completed box down for easy transport and storage.

Step 2: Feed them fish fingers and custard

 Our teens insisted on the menu. Matt Smith’s first task as the Eleventh Doctor is to feed his regenerating body, but nothing appeals to his new taste buds except the delightful combination of fish fingers and custard. Our meeting room has a kitchenette with an oven, so we cooked up some fish sticks and whipped up a batch of vanilla pudding. To our surprise, everyone loved the food. (We made sure we had Doritos and Oreos on hand–just in case.)

Step 3: Crafts. Because bow ties are cool

Kristen found a bunch of great crafts for the teens to do after they’d eaten. We settled on:

Duct Tape Bow Ties:

Dalek Cubee Crafts:


 We liked the bow ties and masks because it gives teens who didn’t come dressed as their favorite character a basic costume to wear for Step 4. Our teens are such die-hard fans that almost all of them came in costume, though.

Photo op with the Tardis

Photo op with the Tardis

 Step 4: Photo op

Once everyone had their time-traveler look ready to go, we took them from the meeting room to the main library, where our TARDIS was set up. (Since this is an after-hours program, we had the building to ourselves.) Everybody got two pictures with the TARDIS on either their phone or our digital camera. In a perfect world, we would have either printed the non-phone photos off for them or gotten permission to post them on Facebook so kids could snag the digital versions. Once the individual photos were done, we let them do group shots.

 Step 5: Weeping Angels Tag

 Kristen found a set of rules on Facebook:

 We ended up playing a simpler version that a couple of our teens made up. We turned off the lights in the library, randomly selected a Doctor and two companions, and gave them 60 seconds to hide. Everyone else was a Weeping Angel. As long as the Doctor/companion could see the Weeping Angels, the Angels couldn’t move. If the Doctor/companion blinked, if an Angel snuck up on them, or if one of the Angels hid behind another Angel, the Angel could move and tag the Doctor/companion out. The round ended when the Doctor and both companions had been tagged. The Angels who tagged them out became the Doctor/companions for the next round.

 This went really fast; each round took about 5 minutes. It was nice that everyone got a chance to play, but I’d eliminate the “Angels can move if they’re hidden behind another Angel” rule in the future.

 Step 6: Trivia

Since Weeping Angels Tag went faster than we’d planned, we filled in some time with Doctor Who trivia questions Kristen found online:

 Or you could use some other activities. Teen Librarian’s Toolbox has a Doctor Who post with even more fabulous ideas:

Crook County Library "Doctor Who" event

Crook County Library “Doctor Who” event

And that’s that! Not only was this program super popular with our teens, staff lost track of the number of adults who came up to the counter to ask why there wasn’t a Doctor Who program for them, too. So we added a Doctor Who night to our Adult Summer Reading Program schedule and hid the folded-up TARDIS behind a filing cabinet in my office. I can’t wait to bring it out again in August.