Do you cache?
You might blink a couple of times if a patron asked you this question! But we want you to be about to confidently say “Yes! Have you found our library’s cache??”
Geocaching is a popular activity for people of all ages, all tech abilities, and located literally anywhere you could go. It is done at bus stops, at highway rest areas, in parks, at historic sites and in junkyards, downtown and in the middle of the woods, with friends or alone. An astronaut cached on the International Space Station!
But what is it?
“Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” It sounds easy. Sometimes it is. And sometimes all you get is the fun of hunting for things. And that is the real attraction of caching: the chance to look around for things – either right in your own neighborhood or as you travel to new places! Finding things that others have hidden for you lets you participate in a special community, one in which Muggles have no idea what is happening right under their noses. You discover new places, find new people, and have fun – a great combination. Think Pokemon Go, but more real-world. Fewer monsters, less fighting – more focus on finding things.
Libraries are natural spots for caching, and work well with people who may want to go out to cache to explore the community. Caching involves identifying a specific piece of information (the cache), then hunting it down. Sound familiar? It’s pretty similar to the work we do in hunting down information online or finding books for people! Library people are natural cachers; we know how to be tenacious and to keep hunting for that one thing we need out of a whole environment of other things. And providing caches in our library is a great way to encourage people to visit us!
And many libraries are already getting in on this action. Does your library have a cache? Would you like to?? Read through the instructions here, scrolling down to read Hiding Geocaches.
- Look at these great library caches pinned up on Pinterest!
- The Salem Church branch of the library in Fredericksburg, VA has a nice cache
- In Calgary, Alberta? Their Southwood branch library cache is quite popular
- The Albuquerque / Bernalillo County Library System lets patrons set up library caches!
- The Hillsboro, Oregon public library has a cache
You can also participate by sharing Travel Bugs! “A Travel Bug is a Trackable that moves from place to place, picking up stories along the way. Here you can add your own story, or live vicariously through each Bug’s adventures.” What kinds of adventures could your travel bug have?? SO many!!
CMLE is setting up some library Travel Bugs. You can follow the adventures of our Travel bugs, and get updates as they move around to exciting new locations; and we will update you as they make their way around to different libraries. Set up a cache in your library, so our Travel Bugs can come visit you! Click on these links to see the Travel Bug individual pages – complete with photos of CMLE Office Bear Clarence holding each.
Let’s watch some library caching in action!
- The Geocaching Vlogger is out having fun near Seattle at a geocaching event, and finds a library geocache
- And the Geocaching Vlogger spends time looking for another library cache, which is requiring use of the library resources! (All our patrons should be this excited about coming to the library!!)
Look through these resources for some information about library caching:
- The Other Wikipedia: A Geocache in The Library “In 2013, staff created a geocache to be hidden within the Beatley Central Library. Starting at the Information Desk, a series of clues guides players through various collections until they reach the actual geocache. Staff creatively employed the Dewey Decimal System to navigate geocachers from one clue to the next.”
- Libraries “Cache” in on Geocaching Treasure Hunts “As physical collections shrink in response to the digital revolution, most libraries are looking for ways to keep the turnstile spinning. In central New York near Syracuse, Liverpool Public Library (LPL) found one answer this past spring in the call of the wild, namely, the growing geocaching craze.”
- Hide and seek in the library: Geocaching as an educational and outreach tool A slideshow from Andrew Spencer at the Macquarie University Library
- NLD ideas: Let a library geocache help in the hunt for new visitors “It’s a perpetual problem when promoting libraries: how to avoid preaching to the converted and inspire people who’d never normally come through the doors to make their first visit. Libraries as far apart as Cornwall and Norfolk, Glamorgan and Ayrshire have all found an innovative answer – set a library geocache.”
Does your library have a geocache? Tell us all about it! We would love to feature you and your library in an upcoming story!