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Pokémon Go connects Pierce County Library System with its communities

Kaitlyn Griffith, a library page at the Gig Harbor library, shows the library within the Pokémon Go game on her phone. The library is embracing its role as a gym in the popular mobile game. Several pages. including Griffith, try and take over the gym within the game during their breaks. Griffith says she has seen about 20 kids a day playing the game during her shifts.
Kaitlyn Griffith, a library page at the Gig Harbor library, shows the library within the Pokémon Go game on her phone. The library is embracing its role as a gym in the popular mobile game. Several pages. including Griffith, try and take over the gym within the game during their breaks. Griffith says she has seen about 20 kids a day playing the game during her shifts. jbessex@gateline.com

Pokémon Go, the latest craze sweeping the world, has not missed Gig Harbor.

Players of all ages can be seen congregating in the city’s public parks, walking down the sidewalks and even gathering at the library.

All Pierce County Libraries have made the map in Pokémon Go, with each location either being a Pokéstop or a gym, said Elise Doney, Teen Services librarian at Lakewood Pierce County Library.

“We’re having folks of all ages stop by the library,” Doney said. “I see a lot of adults playing. And also families. There are some teens playing and excited, but some teens here are a little too cool to play it.”

We’re having folks of all ages stop by the library. I see a lot of adults playing. And also families. There are some teens playing and excited, but some teens here are a little too cool to play it.

Elise Doney, Teen Services librarian at Lakewood Pierce County Library

Doney plays the game herself and has been able to converse with library patrons about where to catch the best Pokémon and introduce them to related library materials. The Gig Harbor library is not only a Pokéstop, but a gym where Pokémon seekers can battle their Pokémon against one another or train them to grow stronger.

Adam Jackman, Adult Services librarian at the Gig Harbor library, first started playing the game the week it was released in order to understand what library patrons were doing and talking about when they came by.

“We’re getting a lot of people coming in both to catch Pokémon and to train up at the gym,” Jackman said. “What’s great is the amount of parents and kids coming in and playing together.”

We’re getting a lot of people coming in both to catch Pokémon and to train up at the gym. What’s great is the amount of parents and kids coming in and playing together.

Adam Jackman, Adult Services librarian

Jackman also pointed out that those searching for Pokémon at the library don’t disturb the overall flow of other patrons, but interact with each other and librarians and staff to discuss the game and search for related materials. Additionally, the game is bringing in new community members to all Pierce County libraries and providing another conversation topic between librarians and library staff and the communities they serve.

“We’re happy to be seeing people at our libraries. We have a lot of staff playing the games, and it’s fun to talk with our patrons about the game. It’s been a great community builder,” Doney said. “If you’re going to be playing Pokémon with yourself or your family, the library is a safe place to come in to participate and play the game.”

I think it’s giving us something else to talk about. This is another bridge that we can talk to people about. Anything that opens that door (for communication), we’re excited to talk about.

Jackman

Jackman agreed and noted that Pokémon has remained a popular topic for library materials and has seen a resurgence both in generations that grew up with Pokémon and those recently introduced.

“I think it’s giving us something else to talk about,” Jackman said. “This is another bridge that we can talk to people about. Anything that opens that door (for communication), we’re excited to talk about.”

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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