Hooray! Your Library’s a Pokéstop!

Pokestop

The North Dakota State Library is a Pokéstop and your library likely is, too!

Guest post by Shari Mosser, ND State Library

I wanna be the very best. Like no one ever was!

Lately, you might have seen random people outside your library – singly or in groups. The people range in age, background and lifestyles. The only thing in common is that they are usually holding a phone in front of their face. Sometimes they congregate for a half hour or so and then walk (or drive/bike) away. Others will just keep walking by or abruptly switch directions with excited looks on their faces.

These people are probably playing the new, popular, free-to-play game called Pokémon GO! It is so popular it is on the verge of overtaking the daily number of users that are on Twitter. Pokémon GO uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where you are in the game (so real world locations!) and make little “monsters” appear around you. As you move around, different Pokémon appear depending on where you are and what time it is.

The idea of the game is to encourage exploration and travel (i.e. walking) in the real world making it an augmented reality (AR) game. Players actually have to go to the physical location to play. This game is what players have dreamed about since Pokémon came out in the late 90’s. The idea that Pokémon are real and inhabit our world is very enticing.

An Augmented Reality Pidgey lurking in our stacks

An Augmented Reality Pidgey lurking in our stacks.

The game also transforms local landmarks and businesses into Pokéstops and Gyms. Most likely your library is a Pokéstop in the world. This is where players come to refill their necessary supplies (like Pokéballs and other items). Reach out to those players by advertising that you are a stop! Let the players know they can refill and collect valuable Eggs.

Or, you can play along! Then you can set up your stop to lure Pokémon. This means you put out an item (in game) that will increase the amount of Pokémon at your Pokéstop. These Pokémon then can be seen and caught by any player nearby. Use it during a typically slow period of your day to get more foot traffic, and then use your creativity to turn them into a library patron! Drop a lure before your summer reading program as a lead in to your event. Make sure to advertise your lure beforehand to increase participation.

The popularity of this game is exploding. Make that impact a positive one by embracing the game and its players. Pokémon GO could be a memorable experience for you and your patrons!

Now, I’m off to find Mew!

Pokémon, (gotta catch them all) it’s you and me
I know it’s my destiny
Pokémon, oh, you’re my best friend
In a world we must defend

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