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Space Invaders?

Lake Park, October 8 2016

PopularEarlier this year, I blogged about Pokemon Go and its significance to libraries. While, the Pokemon Go craze has died down, there has been some controversy around the game. In Milwaukee County's Lake Park, the game is still very popular and draws large crowds. The crowds have caused an increase in litter and are a disturbance to the nearby neighborhood. In August, the county sent a letter to Niantic, the game's parent company, asking that they obtain a Geocaching permit. Recently I heard that some stops have been removed.

As a librarian, I find this a fascinating concept. Does anyone have the right to use virtual space however they want? What about when safety is a concern? When traveling recently, I noticed that there were no Pokemon to catch in airports. While, I couldn't find anything official, there is some indication that this may be a safety issue. Niantic has removed Pokestops from the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC

While I can see that safety has priority over a game, and there are places where it is just plain disrespectful to have virtual space interfere with real space, there can be positives as well. I discovered Lake Park before I knew about the controversy. While crowded, I was amazed at the camaraderie as virtual strangers helped each other out with the game. Entire families played together. I can see however, that there are some areas of the park (such as the waterfall) that can be harmed when overrun by players. 

How has Pokemon Go been received in libraries? Has anyone experienced problems? 

LighthouseReal world meets virtual world at Lake Park--the PokeStop at the WaterfallLighthouse (left) and sensitive waterfall area (right)


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Fish Camp County Park has become a popular Madison-area gathering place, and there has been discussion on the Fish Camp Pokemon Facebook page about how not to get kicked out. There were still Pokestops all over O'Hare last August - it was a great way to kill time waiting.

Provo City Library had four stops removed from their outdoor space because of issues. You can read about it here:


And locally in my neighborhood, the pokestops at Hudson Park were removed at the request of Madison Police because of incidents that were happening there.

Madison Public Library has stops in many of our locations as well as other PokemonGo attractions, and so far they haven't been a problem for us.

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