500 treasure hunters to overnight in NY Library

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Five hundred scavengers will spend the night roaming the inner sanctums of the New York Public Library's grandiose main building on a treasure hunt game, the library said Friday.

Applicants to join the elaborate hunt began registering Friday on game.nypl.org in hopes of being chosen to stay up from dusk on May 20 till dawn the next day in the Fifth Avenue complex.

The website features a tantalizing taste of the fun. Spooky music plays over shots of the library apparently meant to recall Dan Brown thriller-style images - a close-up of the library's lion statue, ancient manuscripts, endless rows of books, the old world main reading room.

"It's never been attempted before," the website says. "It might not be possible."

The library says players will have the night to track down 100 treasures, such as the copy of the Declaration of Independence written in Thomas Jefferson's hand, scouring even the rarely visited miles (kilometers) of underground shelves.

But this will be as much a high-tech challenge as a bookworm's dream. Clues will be distributed by mobile phone apps and as contestants home in on the objects they will then have to write stories related to each find on a library computer.

Eventually the stories will be bound into a real book that will become part of the library's permanent collection.

Registration ends on April 21.

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