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This is What Happened When We Held a Pokemon Go Program at the Library

pokemongoLast Thursday The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) hosted it’s Pokemon Go program, an event that was put together by a committee of about 7 people for all ages. We scoured the Internet and found a variety of activities and decorations which helped make our event an exciting success.

Because Pokemon Go is played by people of all ages, we specifically chose to make this an all ages event, which proved to be a very wise move. We had a lot of families come that were obviously enjoying playing the game together. Our event lasted for 5 hours and we placed a lure (a lure draws Pokemon to your location) every half hour. A lot of people came and stayed the entire time and it was fun to see them sitting around talking and then get up to go somewhere and catch a Pokemon. At one point someone declared that Pikachu was nearby and there was an excited mass exodus. As far as I know no one caught Pikachu that night, but they sure did have a fun time trying.

Decorations

pg22Pokeball Lanterns

Two of our staff members worked incredibly hard to make the space look awesome, which they did with these amazing Pokeball lanterns. They tested three different ways of turning white paper lanterns into pokeballs: duct tape, spray paint and tissue paper. They ultimately decided that red paint was the easiest and worked the best.  In all 3 versions they used black duct tape for the center line.

It was awe inspiring to walk into our programming room and see about 10 of these hanging from the ceiling.

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pg5Pokeball Tables

My personal philosophy of table decorations is not very visually appealing. I only recently learned what tablescaping is. But some of my coworkers believe very strongly in making things look amazing in ways I would never even think of, which is why they set about creating these amazing pokeball table effects.

To create the look, they used red and white table clothes and black duct tape. They overlapped the two – it works better to put the white on the bottom and have the red on top – and taped them together using the black duct tape. You’ll have excess on each side which you will need to cut off.

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To create the center button – is that what it is, a button? – they used a thick white plate and a black marker.pg17 pg16

Food

We believe firmly that you can’t have a program or party without food. We had a vast array of snack food items that we related back to Pokemon. For example, Doritos were “Charmander Chips”. The snacks were served in red and clearish white bowls designed to look like open pokeballs. When looking for Pokemon snacks, Pinterest really is your friend.

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A local baker made 7 dozen pokeball cookies. Every last one of them were eaten.pg10

And we ordered a pepperoni and a cheese pizza which we cut in half and swapped out to make them look like poke pizzas. Again, Pinterest.pg3

Activities

In addition to making Fingerprint Pokemon Buttons in the Teen MakerSpace, we did a variety of crafts and activities in this program.

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We also colored our own pokeballs which we then made into buttons. Yes, we use our button makers a lot. I can not stress enough to you how popular they are. And with all ages.pg11

Younger kids made Pikachu ears. We also printed off and folded these Pikachu and pokeball cubes. We tried many ways to hold them together and hot glue worked the best. And should you be thinking the Pikachu ears were too young for teens, I myself was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of teens did in fact make and wear the ears.pg9

We also made this Pin the Tail on Pikachu game. It was amusing to watch adults play it.pg6

At each completed station participants got a Pokemon card and a ticket that went into our raffle crawing. We put together 50 Pokemon Hunter Kits that included things like glow sticks, wipe on sunscreen, small bottles of water and little eggs with miniature Pokemon. The kits were wickedly popular and it was fun to watch people trading cards and Pokemon throughout the night.

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We also did this scavenger hunt, which was shared online by another librarian, Karissa in the Library, who was kind enough to do all the work. It worked really well for us and I highly recommend it.

We also had a Guess the Pokemon game set up on a large screen TV. One of our tech people created a slide show that showed a silhouette of a Pokemon and participants were supposed to guess the name of the Pokemon. I was not involved in the creation of this game but it resembled this game in theory: http://www.sporcle.com/games/dlh1231/nostalgia. I was not good at this game, but most of the people present got a perfect score.

One of the best parts of hosting a pop culture related event is seeing how enthusiastic people are for that pop culture phenom. We had a variety of kids and adults coming in dressed to the nines.

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And although most of the people who came were already playing the game, we wanted to make sure and have an education component so we had a tech education table set up next to our charging station where newbies and players alike could have questions answered, learn secret tricks and tips and more.pg7This turned out to be a highly successful program for us. It met all of our goals and, most importantly, every one who came had a great time and left in awe of the library. At the end of the day, that’s what we want to do: create positive library experiences.

More Pokemon Go at TLT:

Pokemon Go and Teen Programming (TPiB)

MakerSpace: Making Fingerprint Pokemon Go Buttons

App Review: Pokemon Go, The Basics

See Also:

Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know? (School Library Journal)

MakerSpace: Making Fingerprint Pokemon Go Buttons

pokemonbuttons2Pokemon Go is big – you’ve probably heard. So my library is like many libraries and we are trying to plan a Pokemon Go program for our patrons while the program is still hot. Yes, I know Pokemon has been popular for 20 years now, but this is a new level of popularity and we want to tap into the zeitgeist in a timely manner.

We’re in the brainstorm stages, but one thing I know for sure we want to do is continue to use one of our most popular Teen MakerSpace stations – our button makers – to get teens creating. So I spent a part of last week researching Pokemon related button making ideas. And then it hit me, our fingerprint buttons are already so popular, so why not try making Fingerprint Pokemon Buttons.

Which is how I stumbled down the rabbit hole of Pokemon characters. I know Pikachu and a few of the characters I have caught playing Pokemon Go, but my knowledge of Pokemon is definitely lacking. So I had to research and find characters from Pokemon that might be easier to translate in the fine art form of fingerprint art.

Pikachu, it turns out, is actually kind of the easiest. In fact, I have perfected my fingerprint Pikachu and plan on putting that on my next resume.

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Not Just a Button, a Pokebutton

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I particularly wanted to play around with the idea of the Pokemon being in the Pokeball, but having the red portion of the Pokeball didn’t really work. Making the black bars creates the illusion of the Pokeball, but I had to make them shorter in order to provide space for the fingerprint Pokemon. The Pokeball template ended up looking like this:

pokeballtemplate1Although we definitely want to encourage our fingerprint button makers to be creative and make whatever they want, we have found that many participants want examples that they can follow. So I made a page of examples: Pokeball ExamplesPokeball Examples-page-001

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Some of my fingerprint Pokemon examples were a little, um, less than successful. It’s okay, you can laugh.

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My finished template page ended up looking like this:

pokeballtemplatesIt’s just one of the many activities that we will do for our Pokemon Go program, but it was a fun one to put together. And you have to admit, teen librarians have some of the most interesting resumes out there.

Video Games Weekly: Pokemon Go and Teen Programming (TPiB)

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go, the newest app that inspires gamers to GO OUTSIDE! Many libraries have already utilized Pokemon Go as social media content, book display inspiration, and promotional material.  Instead of focusing on what Pokemon Go is and how to play, this article is going to focus on doing Pokemon Go themed programs for teens.

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Short Version of Pokemon Go: Players download the app to their phones, and run around outside trying to catch Pokemon. The app uses Google Maps to trace where players are in the real world, and players can “catch” Pokemon that appear on their screens through augmented reality.  It looks like this on their screens:

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Resources to learn more about Pokemon Go:

App Review: Pokemon Go, the very basics, safety issues, and Pokemon Go and libraries

Pokemon Go, Explained

Pokemon Go is Catching Us All – In Unexpected Ways

Everything You Wanted to Know About Pokemon Go But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know?

What librarians have to say about Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go: What do Librarians Need to Know?

Everything Librarians Need to Know about Pokemon Go!

Is Your Library a Pokestop in Pokemon Go? 

Teen Programming Ideas

Sort your program attendees into teams: Pokemon Go has three teams that players can join: Mystic, Valor, and Instinct.  Each faction honors Pokemon strengths differently, kind of like Hogwarts Houses or factions in Divergent.  You can sort your teens in a variety of ways!  Have them take a Buzzfeed quiz, make team badges with a button maker, or 3D print badges and have them choose randomly.  (P.S. I’m Team Valor. Represent.)

Pokemon Safari: See how many Pokemon the teams can catch around/outside of the library in twenty minutes.  Require them to take a photo of the Pokemon that way you can count how many they have caught, and you can always ask to reuse the images for you library’s social media pages.

Pokemon Pictionary Battles: You’ll need two sketch pads or marker boards, markers, a timer, and clues for this activity. The clues are going to be Pokemon!  You can use the Pokemon Database to find the weird sounding Pokemon to make the competition more fun/difficult.

Have two teams pick a person who is going to draw (the third team will play the winning team  in the next round).  Set the clock for two minutes. When you say ‘Go!’, the players begin drawing the Pokemon for their team to guess. The first team to guess first wins!

I have found that not all participants are Pokemon experts.  If they don’t know what the Pokemon looks like, you can keep two copies of Pokemon Handbooks on the side and have them use a portion of their time to look it up (literacy skills FTW).

Pokeball Target Practice: You can paint a ping pong ball to look like a Pokeball, and have them practice throwing them at Pokemon/targets. You can also have them paint their own Pokeballs! See here for an example.

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One Truth and One Lie: Have you heard all of the outrageous news stories about Pokemon Go?  There are so many out there that are unbelievable!  Print out headlines on a piece of paper, and pair them with your own fake headlines. Have teens guess which one is real, and which one is fake.  You can also print out the real articles and have a teen read them out loud for the group.  Some examples are on http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/11/tech/pokemon-go-crazy-events/index.html 

Pokemon Theme Song Lip Sync Battle: Do your teens know all of the words to the Pokemon theme song? Have them lip sync a few lines in a lip sync battle! You could also have them do the Pokemon song that names all of the Pokemon in order.

Pokemon Cubees: There are plenty of Pokemon paper crafts online, including cubees. You can find plenty of printable examples here.

Best Named Pokemon Contest: Poke Trainers can rename Pokemon in Pokemon Go. Have teens show off their naming/comedy skills. It can be funny, overly descriptive, or ridiculous!

Make Your Own Pokemon Exquisite Corpse Style: Fold an 11×17 piece of paper into thirds. Put teens into groups of 3. One teen draws a head, one teen draws a body, and the last teen draws the feet. You can have teens create a name for their Pokemon character. Want to take it to the next level? Scan the completed Pokemon in and use your technology to make Pokemon style cards for their characters, including giving them points and special powers. There are some Pokemon card makers and tutorials available online here and here.

STEM Learning Electricity Demonstration: Okay so this one requires some explanation.  There are different types of Pokemon such as water, fire, electricity, and plant. Pikachu is an electric Pokemon, so you can easily implement an electricity-themed STEM program. Here is one of my favorites.

STEM Learning Water Demonstration: You can freeze Pokemon figurines in ice cubes and have teens try to figure out which solution will melt the quickest.  Here are the instructions.

STEM Plant Pokemon: Plant Pokemon, you can have teens makes seed bombs like this: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Seed-Bomb/

Programming Ideas from Other Librarians (Facebook Groups)

Teen Services Underground
Teen Librarians

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

App Review: Pokemon Go, the very basics, safety issues, and Pokemon Go and libraries

This weekend my timeline flooded with posts about Pokemon Go. Then on Sunday afternoon, The Teen came home from a friend’s house declaring they had walked 3 miles trying to catch Pokemons. So I decided I needed to figure out what this Pokemon Go is because my teens are definitely in to it.

Pokemon Go is an app that you download to your mobile device. You then use it to go and “catch” Pokemons. You can use the Pokemons that you have caught to battle other players in places that are called “Gyms”.

Here’s how it works:

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After you create your character, you follow a map on your phone to try and find Pokemons.

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Once you are close enough to a Pokemon, you then try and catch them, hence the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” slogan. When you are close, it then gives you a prompt and turns on your camera. You can take a picture with your Pokemon.

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You then use your finger and kind of fling the Pokeball to catch your Pokemon.

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Once you catch it, it is added to your Pokedex. It’s like a Rolodex of all your Pokemon. Yesterday I met a man my age walking around the neighborhood, he had 42 Pokemon in his Pokedex. I have 6.

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You can also apparently go to Poke Gyms and battle other players, though I have not done this. This man’s house is apparently a gym and people keep showing up at the middle of the night to do their gym battles and he kind of wishes that maybe they wouldn’t:This Guy’s House Was Turned Into A Gym On Pokémon.

Pokemon Go and Safety Issues

It’s also important to know that there are some inherent safety issues to consider in Pokemon Go, because you have to go places to catch Pokemon. For example, I had no problem with my kids walking around a certain defined radius of our local neighborhood to catch Pokemon, but not all kids will have this luxury because they live in unsafe neighborhoods. And there is also the issue that we live in a time where POC probably feel less safe walking around playing. The Mary Sue had this important post on the subject of race that you will want to read: Black Geek Writes About How His Experience of Pokémon GO Is Affected By Race. To highlight this point, on my neighborhood FB group this morning someone posted that there was a “dark skinned man” parked outside her house taking a picture and she thought he was casing the neighborhood, but many other people responded that he was just probably playing Pokemon Go. However, apparently, some robbers are in fact using Pokemon Go to target people: Robbers use Pokémon Go to target victims. So while Pokemon Go may be a lot of fun, not all players will have the same experience and it is important of us all to be mindful of that.

You’ll also want to remember not to catch Pokemon and drive, there have already been a couple of accidents related to Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go and Libraries

Some libraries have discovered that they are Poke Stops (they help you level up and give you special stuff) or Gyms and are capitalizing on that. In addition, some libraries are hosting Pokemon Clubs for players to meet and share their tips and tricks.

Bethany (@bookrarian) on Twitter is doing some cool things with Pokemon Go at their library, including setting “lures”. See also:

How local attractions are using Pokemon Go to lure visitors.

How ‘Pokémon GO‘ Can Lure More Customers To Your Local Business

Is LureSquad The First Monetized ‘Pokémon GO‘ App For Businesses?

Pokémon Go is doing what few apps can – driving real-world traffic

Why Pokemon Go and The Library is a perfect partnership – ALSC Blog

You’ll definitely want to be aware of this game so that you can be ready to talk to the people who come into your library about it. And honestly, it’s fun. I think I will keep playing.

Everything You Need to Know About Pokemon Go

CNet Article

Playing Pokémon Go Is Helping People With Mental Health Issues Feel Better

28 Things People Who Don’t Play Pokémon Go Will Never Understand

Pokémon Go Actually Started As A Google April Fools’ Prank

5 things we learned from ‘Pokémon Go’

Pokemon Go and Libraries

Pokemon Hunters WILL Visit You! : Libraries

Pokemon Go! at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Catching ‘Em All at NYPL with Pokémon GO

Cincinnati Library

Edited to Add Concerns About Privacy As Well

Pokémon Go is automatically granting permission to read your Gmail

Pokemon GO Raises Privacy Concerns with Apple Users

iOS version of Pokémon Go is a possible privacy trainwreck

You Should Probably Check Your Pokémon Go Privacy Settings