• Pokémon GO at the Altadena Library (Photos - altadenalibrary.org).

      Pokémon GO at the Altadena Library (Photos – altadenalibrary.org).

      Okay, let’s be real — chances are that you have either caught a Pokémon in the past week, or you know someone who has.

      By Ryan Roy

      But just in case you missed the news flash about the massive Pokémon Go phenomenon, here’s the scoop:

      Pokémon started out as a video game released back in 1996. The franchise has since exploded into a multimedia juggernaut that includes movies, TV shows, toys, video games, and comic books — all of which have accumulated a gross revenue of over $46 billion. Yes, forty-six billion dollars. That should put it into perspective.

      Pokémon Go

      Pokémon Go is the latest video game to be released in the franchise. It came out on July 6th as a free-to-play augmented reality game for mobile devices. In English, that means: 1) you can download and play it for free, 2) the game is designed to work only on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, and 3) the game uses your device’s GPS and camera to help you locate and capture small “pocket monsters” that you can only see through your device.

      According to USA Today, Pokémon Go was downloaded 15 million times in the first week of its release. Only five days after its release, the game was drawing in about 21 million active daily users — which would make it the most popular mobile game in U.S. history.

      Library invasion

      So that’s what it is. But here’s the fun part: these crazy little Pokémon have invaded the Altadena Library! They are hiding in the book stacks, skittering through the Reading Court, loafing in the Magazine Lou and gathering in the Community Room.

      Altadena Library Public Services Director, Ryan Roy, found a Bellsprout growing right out of his desk (Photo - altadenalibrary.org).

      Altadena Library Public Services Director, Ryan Roy, found a Bellsprout growing right out of his desk (Photo – altadenalibrary.org).

      Caught inside the library

      Here’s an abbreviated list of Pokémon that have been caught inside the library to
      date: Pidgey, Mankey, Rattata, Ryhorn, Ponyta, Geodude, Eevee, and Zobat.

      In addition, I found a Belisprout growing right out of my desk. Director Mindy Kittay snagged a Charmander on the conference table in her office, and Library Page Kin Lahey has been catching various Pokémon all around the building, ranking up her avatar to level 10. She explains:

      When I was in the second grade, I wanted to collect Pokémon cards. But I was making D’s and F’s on tests at school, and to motivate me, my dad said he would buy me some Pokémon cards if I made all A’s. I asked if I could make B’s, but he said no. So I did what I had to do to complete my set — I went out and made all A’s! I just needed the right motivation, and Pokémon did the trick.

      Kin was ultimately able to collect all 150 Pokémon cards in that set (her card collection and Pokémon memorabilia are now on display at the main library). So be sure to stop by and take a look.

      Pokéstops and lures

      With two Pokéstops to discover at the Altadena Library’s main location, and two more accessible from the Branch location— the Altadena Library District is the perfect place
      for casual Pokémon hunters and serious trainers alike to grow their collection. And just to help you fill out your Pokédex, the Altadena Library will regularly plant lures* at the
      main library’s Pokéstop in August. So whether you are currently building your collection or just now planning to start – it’s the perfect time to come out to the library, join up with fellow Pokémon enthusiasts, and have a blast with Pokémon Go.

      *A lure is device in the game that attracts multiple Pokémon to that location!

      Ryan Roy is the Public Services Director of The Altadena Libraries. This article first appeared on Altadena Libraries’ CONNECT Newsletter.

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