Pokémon GO is the big hit of the summer with people of all ages – including the elusive 20-something demographic. Here are just a few ideas of what libraries are doing to get Pokémon trainers in the door and evolve them into library masters.
- Brand your library as a “PokeStop”: Whether or not your library is a PokeStop, brand it as one by promoting what your library can provide to Pokémon Trainers. Warrenville (Illinois) Public Library promotes its free wifi and air conditioning for trainers, where the Manske Library – Farmers (Texas) Branch promotes that their stop gives out library cards. Another idea – charging stations, because as every trainer knows the game can really drain your phone’s battery.
- Promote what your library already has: While some trainers might only be venturing through your doors to catch a Sandslash or a Growlithe, hook them with Pokémon-related items like manga, children’s chapter books or video game rentals.
- No party like a Pokémon Party: The Robbins Library in Arlington, Massachusetts recently hosted a Pokémon Lure Party, due to their proximity to a PokéStop. The library set some lures at the stop to increase the number of Pokémon around the library during the party.
- Go old school: Remember that Pokémon was a trading card game, so consider hosting a tournament. This is particularly good for kids that don’t have cell phones, don’t live in areas where Pokémon GO is as accessible, or whose parents might not feel comfortable with their kids wandering around town on their own.
- Guided Pokémon search: As mentioned above, some parents might be slightly apprehensive about their kids hunting for Pokémon on their own. Skokie (Illinois) Public Library offers a guided Pokémon Safari for kids in grades K-5.
- Pokemon Scavenger Hunt: Youth services librarian Karissa Alcox of Fort Erie Public Library in Ontario, Canada, showcases library resources that will be of interest to Pokémon Trainers with her Pokémon Library Scavenger Hunt. Trainers receive a Library Pokédex at the front desk and are guided to areas of the library like the graphic novels section, picture books and tween books to catch Pokémon – no phone required. Prizes are awarded to trainers who catch ‘em all.
- Gotta get crafty: Pokémon GO is one of the hottest activities this summer, but it’s important to remember that it still requires a smartphone, and many people simply don’t have access to one. Consider Pokémon crafts like these cool Gengar and Snorlax bookmarks, origami Pikachus, DIY Poké Balls (because you can never have too many) or simple coloring sheets.
- Earn Gym Badges: Just like Ash Katchum, you can earn gym badges too! Librarian Gayle created a series of gym badges that trainers can earn by preforming activities around the library. This is a great way to encourage trainers to explore what your library has to offer, while also introducing them to the ultimate Pokédex – the librarian.
- Celebrate gaming in libraries: As part of the fun activities of this year's International Game Days, ALA’s Games & Gaming Round Table is hosting a Library Pokémon Battle Map which shows team leadership at gyms at libraries all over the world. For additional information, including how to get involved visit: igd.ala.org.
- The Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire, Illinois, put up a book display the first week after the game's release and immediately had a hard time keeping it stocked. At one point, they had just 8 out of 169 Pokemon-related items in their collection left on shelf. Even the biography of the game's creator was checked out!
We are interested to hear how you are using Pokémon GO to promote your library services to people in your community. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add them to the list.
Now go out and catch ‘em all!