This is What Happened When We Held a Pokemon Go Program at the Library
Last 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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to making Fingerprint Pokemon Buttons in the Teen MakerSpace, we did a variety of crafts and activities in this program.
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.
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.
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.
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.This 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:
App Review: Pokemon Go, The Basics
Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know? (School Library Journal)
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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