Do you letterbox? Letterboxing is part art and part adventure. Letterboxes are hidden all over the world and each contains a visitor’s book and a rubber stamp. Each letterboxer (or letterboxing family) is equipped with a journal (to collect stamps from the letterboxes) and a unique stamp (to stamp in all of those visitor’s books).
I started letterboxing a few years ago with my family and we were immediately hooked – preschoolers and all. Being a children’s librarian, I immediately wanted to turn this new-found hobby into a program. So with a lot of help from a talented staff, I did. And you can too!
A simple way to get involved in the letterboxing phenomenon is to just hide a letterbox in your library. Post the clue on Letterboxing.org and/or Atlas Quest and then sit back and watch the letterboxers pour in. Within days of posting the clue to the first letterbox planted at the Rochester Public Library, we had five visitors in to find it! Five.
To take it a little further, you can host a letterboxing program with one or several boxes hidden in the library. For my programs, I like to have at least fifteen boxes hidden in the children’s department. Yes, fifteen, but twenty is better. This requires a lot of prep work by that talented staff mentioned above. But once the boxes are created and hidden, they are there forever. It is an investment well worth the time. Last month we had 205 visits to our letterboxes!
I schedule the program for an hour & start with a brief overview of letterboxing and a little show and tell. Then I provide families with blank journals to decorate (cardstock folded & stapled over copy paper) and the supplies to create unique stamps (small squares of foam board or styrofoam & golf pencils to press the image in). Once they have their supplies ready, I hand out the clues. Some families find one letterbox and head home, others spend hours searching for boxes. The great thing about this program is once a family learns about it they can participate anytime the library is open. I just saw a family letterboxing in the library this afternoon!
To promote the letterboxes we have tri-fold brochures out on the counter, we talk up letterboxing whenever we have a chance and we offer regular letterboxing programs. Letterboxing is super fun, give it a try!