One of the latest crazes to surface during my blogging hiatus is the Pokémon Go phenomenon. And while I personally don't want to waste my time, data or phone battery playing the game, I can already tell you that I love it. Why? Because it is a perfect match for public libraries.
Perhaps the best way to familiarize people with the library's resources and services is to get them in the door. Once you get someone inside, it's almost impossible for them to not find something of interest. And Pokémon Go is definitely bringing people into the library — particularly millennials who might not regularly step foot inside a brick-and-mortar library branch.
Whoever was responsible for deciding to make public libraries Pokéstops and/or Poké Gyms deserves a high five, a bear hug, a pat on the back and maybe a foot massage too. This decision is not only bringing people into the library, but it's giving librarians new and creative programming ideas as well. Some libraries have even reinvigorated their old Pokémon clubs in addition to creating new programming for the next generation of Pokémon enthusiasts. Between hosting group walks to catch Pokémon, setting off lures and inviting people to libraries to battle for control of a gym, this new mobile game is breathing some fresh air into youth services provided by libraries everywhere.
Well there's no telling just how long this trend will stay in the spotlight, public libraries have been quick to embrace the mobile game's growing popularity. While Pokémon originally got big in the early 2000s, many libraries have seen a rise in circulation for their Pokémon materials since the games exponentially successful launch earlier this month.
We'll see how long Pokémon Go remains a "thing," but I'd be willing to bet a super rare Pokémon that it won't be nearly as long as public libraries last!