Pokémon Go Brings Exploration to Neighborhood Libraries

Filed under: Featured News,South Philadelphia,South Philly,Subject Categories |

By Eldon Graham

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has teamed up with Pokémon GO to encourage Philadelphia residents to explore their neighborhoods and libraries with the innovative augmented reality experience of the popular mobile game in which players can encounter Pokémon in the real world. Five libraries in Philadelphia will participate in the initiative through Aug. 11.

Although the initiative is for the entire city of Philadelphia, two well-known South Philadelphia locations will play a central role in the popular hunt: The Queen Memorial Library at 1201 S.23rd Street, and the Fumo Family Library located at 2437 South Broad Street. The other three locations are Tacony LAB (through Aug. 4), Blackwell Regional Library and Parkway Central Library.

Participants in the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Summer of Wonder reading program will automatically be entered to win a special item related to Pokémon GO. To further immerse people in the real-world experience, all visitors to the libraries and the participants in the Discovery Path will be given a map of the nearby PokéStops curated by the Free Library and encouraged to explore the nearby locations. In addition, there will be a celebration of the libraries and the completion of this initiative in September 2017 that will include a walking tour around the PokéStops.

The initiative will help support the Summer of Wonder program, which promotes reading and exploration activities for students while they are on summer break. Participants can explore their libraries and immediate neighborhoods, as well as complete activities related to literacy, exploration and STEAM in the Summer of Wonder reading game.

Niantic, Inc., the developer and publisher of Pokémon GO, and the Knight Foundation recently announced a multiyear commitment to promote civic engagement in communities across the United States. These two organizations will support efforts to get citizens outside and to explore their towns in city-organized events.

“To encourage more people to interact with and explore our city’s public spaces, we need to meet them where they are. By combining the draw of Pokémon GO with an invitation to get to know Philadelphia, this initiative taps into the power of technology to promote civic engagement,” said Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation program director for Philadelphia.

Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library, commented: “What an exciting addition to our summer reading initiative! Engaging children while they are out of school is critically important to ensure they return to school in the fall reading on grade level. We look forward to having Pokémon GO players share the fun and curiosity which can be found in our libraries.”

“We’ve integrated incredible and interesting locations that highlight Philadelphia’s history and culture into Pokémon GO,” said Vikram Grover, senior director of business development at Niantic, Inc. “Partnering with Knight Foundation and Philadelphia’s Free Library continues to build on Niantic’s vision to create ‘adventures on foot’ and to bring communities together in the real world, at vital public institutions like libraries, to explore, learn and engage with these institutions.”

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