Readers, I had a proud moment last week. I caught a Jigglypuff! She is adorable and pink, with big, blue eyes. Like a sweet and stealthy ninja, she has the ability to lull enemies to sleep. Though she is small, she will one day evolve into a pompadour-sporting Wigglytuff. When I look at her in my Pokédex, I almost cannot handle the cuteness.
Oh readers, I really thought that I would be immune to Pokémon Go. I was wrong. I am not a gamer and I have never participated in Cosplay, Comic Con, or anything related to Anime. Although Pokémon is a part of my generation, it never felt that way. My brother, nearly nine years younger than me, is the Pokémon superfan, has been since the time he was sporting baby teeth. My parents could probably wallpaper their house with the Pokémon trading cards my brother collected over the years. So, how did I get here?
To start, Pokémon fever has invaded my second home, the Levittown Public Library. We are excited to be a Pokémon Go gym, meaning that we are a location, designated by the game, where Pokémon trainers (players) can battle for control on behalf of their teams and gain useful experience points in the process. For advice on how to become a gym leader, watch this YouTube video, which is also linked to our webpage. Conveniently, the LPL is located across the street from a PokéStop (Veterans Memorial Park), where players can bring their avatars to collect goods, including Poké Balls, potions, eggs, and more. All the better for “battle!” Many of my coworkers are fervently playing Pokémon Go and there is a healthy amount of competition when it comes to controlling our gym and catching rare or powerful Pokémon.
My Pokémon Go experience started selflessly, altruistically: I started catching Pokémon for my boyfriend. We had a great system; He drove and I caught the Pokémon. Turns out, I had a bit of a natural ability at catching Pokémon…Maybe I should add this to my resume? What do you think? Anyway, I was so jazzed about catching Pokémon that I voluntarily got out of the car during a rain shower so that I could get close enough to a PokéStop. That was the first sign that maybe I should just download the app for myself. I continued to catch Pokemon for others before finally succumbing and creating my own purple-haired avatar. After a visit to Eisenhower Park (a hotspot of PokéStops and rare Pokémon), I quickly advanced to Level 5. I’m currently enjoying my time on Level 12, patiently waiting for eggs to hatch and contemplating which wireless charger I should purchase for the benefit of my overworked phone battery.
It’s safe to say that Pokémon Go is the cultural phenomenon of the moment. While some are decrying its simplicity and recommending that we just delete the game from our devices and save ourselves a whole lot of time, there is no denying that this app about fictional creatures is actually transforming our travel experiences and increasing tourism at national parks and monuments. Although Pokémon Go is not a social game, nor a form of social media, it has become a social experiment, in some ways. I have witnessed different groups–comprised of varying ages, genders, and ethnicities–brought together at PokéStops and gyms. Despite their glowing, handheld screens, these players inevitably end up swapping tales of Pokémon hunting. Pokémon Go could very well lead to lifelong friendships and even lifelong love matches.
However, It’s not all good news. To be fair, we should also point out that there have been an increasing amount of accidents and even episodes of violence related to Pokémon Go, in addition to some pretty inappropriate PokéStops, including Auschwitz Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. So, be careful out there. Leveling up in a game is not worth causing harm to yourself or others. And let’s be respectful of our surroundings, especially those that honor the fallen.
If you are playing Pokémon Go (and playing it safely!), you need to visit the Levittown Public Library. Aside from the obvious (we’re a gym, we’re right by a PokéStop, we’re awesome, etc. etc.), we can also provide you with some useful resources for all things Pokémon, including books about Pokemon (Pokémon gotta catch ’em all! : deluxe essential handbook : the need-to-know stats and facts on over 700 Pokémon and a variety of Pokemon graphic novels). In addition, our Young Adult department has put together a great display of recommended reading based on the Pokémon teams (Blue is Team Mystic, Red is Team Valor, and Yellow is Team Instinct). Stop by the Teen Lounge to see what you should read based on your Pokémon team. When you do visit us, you’ll notice a helpful sign letting you know which team is in control of the library, so you can prepare for battle or just walk around all smug because your team is in control.
Best of luck in all your Pokémon hunting! And if you feel the need for more first-person Pokemon stories, check out this Associated Press article, “The Lure of ‘Pokémon Go’: Respite From a Summer of Violence.” I thought it was a good read.
Happy Reading and Pokémon Hunting,