Pokémon GO: How Australian Libraries Can Get Involved

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If you haven’t heard of Pokémon GO yet, it’s an augmented reality mobile game in which players can hunt for pocket monsters, or ‘Pokémon’, using their phones. Digital animations of these Pokémon are overlaid onto the real world using the camera, where players can then catch them by throwing a virtual ball that is called — you guessed it — a Pokéball.

pokemon go logoCreated by Niantic, Pokémon GO was released in Australia earlier this month and immediately went viral, sending millions of users out into the streets looking for Pokémon around PokéStops, basically real-life landmarks — libraries, art sculptures, buildings — that are hot spots for collecting free items as well as catching Pokémon. Other landmarks have become Poké Gyms, where players can battle other players to take ownership of the gym and gain rewards.

Fun, right? Well, here’s what some people are already doing with their library and what you can do with yours, if you haven’t yet. Join in the craze!

1) Promote your PokéStop or PokéGym.

If your library is a PokéStop or a Gym, make mention of it in your social media. This will let your patrons know that they can come in to catch Pokémon or battle other players when they come to your library.

2) Host a Pokémon GO event.

If your library is a PokéStop, you can buy lures in-game and invite patrons in for a special event. Lures can be bought for cheap within the game and will increase the rate of Pokémon generation around the PokéStop for 30 minutes, so hopefully players can catch the Pokémon they are looking for then.

  • Orange City Librarian Sean Brady, of the Central West Libraries, NSW, bought some lures and invited GO players to come to the library, which is conveniently located around a PokéGym and four PokéStops.

  • International Games Day is on November 19 this year! If your library is going to be a part of that, it might be worth doing something with Pokémon GO as well — perhaps a competition where patrons can stretch their legs, walk around the area, and catch Pokémon in groups?

3) Set up a Pokémon display table.

Canada library Pokemon display tableIf your library is not a PokéStop or a Gym, there are still things you can to cash in on the game.

4) Educate your librarians.

Are your librarians familiar with Pokémon GO and able to talk at least a little bit about it? They might be able to help confused patrons who are new to the game and looking for Pokémon in and around the library. According to Melanie Lyttle and Shawn Walsh from Public Libraries Online, “What have you caught so far here?” will provide the same warm feelings as “Can I help you find something?” when asking a perplexed person in your book stacks.

Here are some links to get you started:

What has your library been doing with Pokémon GO, and what else do you have planned? Let us know in the comments!