by Jamilyn Hiskes
LANSING, Ill. (June 14, 2019) — For those who have always wanted to participate in a treasure hunt but have never gotten the chance, the 7th Annual ATLAS Multi-Library Geocaching Event could be the perfect way to fulfill that desire.
The Lansing Public Library will be participating in the event — which kicked off June 3 and ends August 3 — again this year, providing Lansing residents with an opportunity for adventure and community building as they explore surrounding communities and libraries.
The event requires participants to obtain a guidebook, which contains coordinates and “clues” for how to locate each geocache, from one of the 32 participating area libraries. For each geocache discovered, according to the Lansing library’s website, participants will earn an entry into a $25 gift card raffle.
Information services librarian Dan Cuthbert has been with the Lansing library for just over a year, and he’s in charge of coordinating this library’s participation in the event. He said he used to hunt for geocaches in Lansing in his spare time, just for the fun of it.
“It’s the treasure hunt aspect of it [that I like],” Cuthbert said. “And you’re not going out and trying to find a million dollars. A lot of the time, you’re going out to find…a little pencil and a pad of paper to write your name down. There’s kind of a secret-ness to it.”
According to Geocaching.com, geocaching began in 2000 when a man testing the accuracy of new GPS systems hid a black bucket with a logbook in Beavercreek, Oregon. He then posted the latitude and longitude coordinates of the bucket on a forum, curious to see if other “GPS enthusiasts” would be able to find the item with the coordinates alone. They did, and a worldwide phenomenon took off from there. Now, participants don’t need a specialized GPS unit—they can use an app to locate geocaches, which are often small, camouflaged containers. In and near Lansing, Geocaching.com lists hundreds of geocaches waiting to be found.
Cuthbert said he believes events like the ATLAS Multi-Library Geocaching Event bring something important to a community like Lansing: “a sense of wonder.”
“You don’t realize there’s all these things going on in your community that you can take advantage of,” Cuthbert said.
“We want to be a community of people, and this is one of those ways to feel that. …Even if it’s just by yourself, when you go to these various geocaches, you see other people who have left their names there, and you know you’re part of a long line of people, of a tradition.”
The geocaching event is also beneficial to the participating libraries, in Cuthbert’s opinion.
“People are able to travel around [to area libraries] and not only collect clues and…enter to get prizes, but they can also see the various things these libraries have to offer,” Cuthbert said. “Not just their own, but…within a 10- or 20-minute drive, all these various things are available to them.”