GITA, the Geospatial Information & Technology Association has a program called Location in Education where educators can borrow 10-15 GPS units (like the one pictured here), free of charge except for shipping and handling.

The units only work outdoors since they depend on signals from satellites that will give the unit longitude and latitude coordinates. People then can use these units to locate treasures that have been hidden around town. Many libraries already have scavenger hunts and chances are that teens will pick up pretty easily on using these devices. If you have the opportunity, try them out with staff first-they’ll discover how easy and fun they are to use.

It’s possible to create endless tie-ins with literature and get readers involved in books in a different way- if they have the opportunity to almost become a character in the story and help solve a mystery or two that the book might provoke. is a great site for resources and developing community contacts for others who geocache. There’s also an app for the iPhone or iPod Touch which will work as its own GPS unit. (As a side note, there’s an article by Christopher Harris, coordinator for a school library system, about every student having an iPhone.) Feel free to share your stories of geocaching at your library.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

5 Thoughts on “Geocaching

  1. Talk about a tie-in to literature, Justina Chen Headley’s forthcoming novel North Of Beautiful (Feb. 09) features geocaching! And there is an actual geocache to discover where her novel is set.

    Teens will love the introduction to geocaching and be reaching for their own GPS units. What a wonderful service GITA is providing!

  2. Enjoy your scavenger hunts!

    I second Lorie Ann’s praise for North of Beautiful.

  3. thanks for this great link! I really wanted to do this at the library where I work but was curious as to where to get the equipment!

  4. Angie Manfredi on November 26, 2008 at 12:45 am said:

    Ever since my kids read Little Brother they have been wanting to do a LARP (“just like in the book!”) and I think this is going to be the perfect ticket! THANK YOU! 😀

  5. Another way to get kids interested…

    In geocache “speak” non-participants in the game are referred to as “muggles” – just like in the Harry Potter series. It’s always fun to search for a geocache without letting the muggles know what you are doing.

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