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.
Created 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.
- The Auburn Library in Sydney is a PokéStop.
- The State Library of Victoria in the Melbourne CBD is a prime hotspot, with four PokéStops located in the area.
- The Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, for example, has a list of which of their libraries have Pokémon Go features — very useful for patrons who want to visit and catch Pokémon at the same time.
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.
- The Invercargill Library in New Zealand has also capitalised on the game, hosting at least three events with free food and Wi-Fi for patrons who want to catch Pokémon.
- 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.
If your library is not a PokéStop or a Gym, there are still things you can to cash in on the game.
- This library in Canada has set up a display table with books that might be of interest to their patrons.
- You can also showcase Pokémon books, films, and games available in your library and dress up as a Pokémon Professor to talk to junior patrons, as suggested by this Reddit user.
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:
- Aussie Outages have a page dedicated to Pokémon GO so you can check whether or not the app is down.
- This blog post shares everything librarians need to know about Pokémon, which will provide a useful introduction for librarians who are not familiar with the franchise at all.
- Google Maps has a useful Pokémon GO map to show you where you can find certain Pokémon.
- Pocket-lint has an extensive tips and tricks list for playing the game.
What has your library been doing with Pokémon GO, and what else do you have planned? Let us know in the comments!