Last summer my husband bought me what I describe as the greatest treasure map ever – a handheld gps. He bought it for me so we could try our hand at geocaching.  At the time, I was nearly 9 months pregnant, so we didn’t really start in on the geocaching fun until this spring. If you aren’t familiar with this activity,  geocaching is modern-day treasure hunting. By visiting you can find the caches that are in your area.  Download or manually enter the coordinates of the cache you wish to find into your handheld GPS (or smartphone). Recently, I looked to see what caches were hidden on campus and discovered there was one right here in the Library!

Caches on the ISU campus

Shortly after arriving at work on Monday, I set out to find my treasure. I was excited with what I found: a cache full of ephemera! But seeing the book that the cache was tucked into was a little disappointing.  This book was not made to hold an envelope of treasures.  The cache was causing stress on the book’s front joint, threatening to damage the binding permanently.  And the cache envelope was held into the book with paperclips, which can also damage the pages. 

I was torn about what to do with my discovery. On one hand, by working in the Preservation Department, I knew this book needed our attention.  On the other hand, I wondered if taking action meant going against some geocaching rule about moving the cache, even though I knew the situation needed our professional help. Knowing I couldn’t leave it, I logged my find on and admitted that I had taken it. I noted in the online log that the cache is still accessible if people want to come searching. It is just temporarily in a different location.

Geocache goodies

After spilling the contents of the envelope to show the muggles… er… staff and interns in the Lab, we decided that it would be best to build a box that would house both the book and the envelope of treasures. This would allow people to still add to and take from the cache, as well as not harm the binding of the book any further.  Here is a photo of the box, which was built by our intern, Martha.