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Pokémon Go To The Library

Last week, I was playing Pokémon Go after work. I was trying to find a Psyduck when someone yelled something to me from across the street.

All I caught was, “[Something something] those pokey mans!”

Photo of a slowbro (pokemon) in the West End.
I didn’t find a psyduck, but I did find a slowpoke!


Boy, did that take me right back to 1998, when I had my VCR set up to record my favorite cartoons. When we played Pokémon Red and Blue on our Gameboy Pockets, searched everywhere for the holographic Charizard card, and rolled our eyes every time an adult attempted to pronounce “pokémon.”

(It’s po-kay-mon, for the record, not po-key-mon, and definitely not po-key-man or po-key-mans.)

I only had a meager collection of pokémon trading cards compared to my brother’s massive empire of cards, and I preferred to line up the perfect photographic shot in Pokémon Snap to duking it out in Pokémon Stadium. But I enjoyed all those things (and like to think I’m a slightly better photographer in real-life because of it).

Pokémon Go captures all the best elements of the pokémon games and TV show I watched growing up: exploring, discovering new pokémon and their abilities, the excitement of seeing a pokémon evolve, battling other players to become the best.

In the off chance you haven’t heard about Pokémon Go, it’s an augmented reality game that you play on your smartphone. The goal is to catch pokémon, battle with other players for prestige, and collect enough pokémon candy to evolve your little monsters into bigger monsters.

Photo of a weedle (pokemon) in the library
Pokémon like to hang out in the library. Maybe you should come catch them.


But instead of exploring a fictional map, you have to explore a real map—this is where the augmented reality comes in. Pokémon Go uses real map data and positions your avatar within the landscape occupied by your physical body. To find pokémon, you actually have to walk around. (I’m averaging about 12,000 steps per day on my “poké walks.”) Once you find a pokémon, the app turns on your phone’s camera and superimposes the pokémon on the scene before you.

Despite the many reports of people getting injured because they were playing the game and not paying attention to their surroundings, I think this is the best aspect of the game.

Because the game highlights monuments and public art as “Poké Stops,” it encourages you to explore new places. In one week of play,I have met new people in the West End community, gotten to know others better, and noticed some art installations that I’ve walked by a thousand times and never actually looked at.

All of this, of course, had me feeling a bit nostalgic. Thankfully, we have the original cartoon on DVD, along with tons of books and graphic novels, to keep me (and maybe you?) busy when I’m too tired to take another step in my quest to catch ‘em all.

Are you playing Pokémon Go? Have you stopped by your local library to battle it out with other players and collect items from nearby Poké Stops? Share your poké photos with us on Instagram and Twitter @CarnegieLibrary!

Relive the best Pokémon moments

Catch 'em all!

Kelly reads, writes and sometimes sews, always with a large mug of tea. Her job as the Clerical Specialist at CLP – West End gives her plenty of ideas for stories that find homes in obscure literary magazines.

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