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Libraries and letterboxing: A new perspective on Cedaredge

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Photo submitted Logan and Mary Locke were the first to finish the Cedaredge letterboxing challenge.

Cedaredge Library staff members refuse to do anything half-heartedly; in fact, they tend to enthusiastically take any challenge to the next level. If they are encouraged to dress up to celebrate a special fitness week at the library, they end up making synchronized fitness videos in full costume. If they decide to try an ongoing craft project in the library, instead of successfully completing just one, they set up a series of projects that allow patrons to have a new experience every month. And if they want to host a scavenger hunt, it becomes a multi-day family challenge that invites library users to step out of the library and explore the entire town of Cedaredge.

This is the letterboxing challenge that is taking place in Cedaredge during June and July. Library manager Cara Morton explains, "We were looking for a way to get families out in Cedaredge to explore key places in the community. Some locations we contacted were ecstatic about having a new reason for people to visit them."

So how does letterboxing work? Morton is eager to describe the process, which is similar to a treasure hunt in that participants follow clues to find hidden boxes in different locations. Partially due to the ease of putting clues on the internet, letterboxing is growing in popularity throughout North America. Locally, library staff has customized the process to better involve the Cedaredge Library and still follow the general rules of letterboxing.

Morton explains the first step is to come to the library to make a custom stamp and booklet with craft supplies available during open hours. Then, clue packets can be checked out for up to six more weeks with a Delta County Libraries card. The first clue is located in the library, allowing staff to walk participants through the letterboxing process, which involves stamping booklets both in the boxes and in the participant's possession.

There is no set order to the 11 clues, although they vaguely follow a trail around town. Morton cautions that while this is designed to be a family activity and anyone with a library card can participate, it will take both time and transportation and may be difficult to accomplish with large groups of young kids. However, because the challenge continues through July, families can take their time working through the clues. Anyone who finishes before the end of July will receive a prize.

Delta County Library patrons from any part of the county are welcome to visit the Cedaredge Library and participate in this project. Additionally, all five libraries have fun and engaging activities going on for families and individuals all summer.

Photo submitted This example of a letterbox can be found in the Cedaredge Library.
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