Pokémon Go: What You Need To Know

Pokémon Go: What You Need To Know

Has your library caught the fever that is Pokémon Go? This phenomenon is catching fast and is getting people out and engaged in their communities. There are many ways that libraries can harness this power for good for their patrons!

Thomas Findley, Adult Services Manager at the Frisco Public Library, gave me permission to share their planning around Pokémon Go:

We here in Frisco are furiously putting together a “flash” social media
campaign to talk about it (as well as the information literacy aspects about
it), but really, it is just in support of bringing players into the library.

We are a pokemon “gym” where people can battle against each other.

The social media campaign for the next two days will be to drum up the
conversation about the library and pokemon go; then, starting on Thursday,
something different will take place: we will be releasing “lures” into the
library for anyone to come by and use. These lures only last for about 30
mins and so we will be setting them off three times a day, starting @ 1pm,
then @ 2:30pm, then the last one @ 4pm.

We will then set off a bundle of them before one of our Basic 3D design
classes on Thursday evening.

We will continue this across the weekend and try to get folks to share
themselves in the library using twitter/Instagram/hashtags.

Our social media team snapped into  action yesterday and here is a quote
from one of their organizing emails from our very own Library Assistant,
Britney Cossey: “If you play Pokemon Go, please try to take some photos from
around the library in fun places (ex. maybe catch a character on a book shelf
or on a One Stop). One of the things that is making this game so popular
(besides it being Pokemon) is that it is so interactive with the real world.
If we could find fun ways to show the characters in our library or on the
square, the better I think the posts will do. If you can get a photo of a
rare or popular character, even better! Also, we’re wanting to use a hashtag
for people to share posts and photos of what they catch, where they catch
them, and their experience of playing the game around the library.”

Combing the viral popularity of this game, a fun  way to share about careful
info lit practices, and engaging a very interesting demographic about the
library as a place to come  to and be, will be fun to see how this fans out
and inspires other things in the staff and users of this library.

Hold onto your hats people (or poke balls)!!!!!


Thomas Finley
Adult Services Manager

The info lit practices Thomas speaks of are the concern over access to personal information on the device. The Skokie Public Library is giving patrons a tour of several nearby PokéStops and talking about neighborhood landmarks. Each of their sessions begins talking about digital and physical safety. The City of Round Rock posted these safety tips on Facebook recently:


This School Library Journal post sums up quite nicely what librarians need to know before getting in the game.

Less abstinence and more PLUS for real information literacy

Less abstinence and more PLUS for real information literacy

I have always been a big fan of Wikipedia but felt I had to keep that to myself when I first began library school. Everyone was so against it. It did, after all, threaten our very existence as librarians! (No, not really). It was really that kind of attitude that made me want to be a librarian in the first place. Why were librarians not supporting the Wikipedia effort? Or really any effort that creates the easiest access to information possible? This also goes along with my thoughts on piracy… but more on that in another post… for another much less crazy couple of weeks.

I know, I know. It is all about the quality of the information. But the myth that it is filled with inaccurate information has pretty much been dispelled. So the stigma has diminished, thankfully. I was happy to see this from Harvard just a couple of weeks ago:

While professors, scholars, and other academics in the early 2000s cautioned students not to consult Wikipedia at all when researching, attitudes concerning the popular online encyclopedia are shifting, according to some Harvard professors.

Some professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences said they see Wikipedia as more acceptable, even as a website that students can peruse for somewhat reliable information. Although they still warned students to be wary when using Wikipedia, some professors no longer look at the site with the same criticism.

Via Professors See Shift in Academic Attitudes on Wikipedia

TurnItIn, a company that processes student papers checking for originality among other things, is giving a free webcast for Plagiarism Education Week all about using Wikipedia as a teaching tool for information literacy that might be of interest to teacher librarians. You can learn more or register for it here.

3rd Annual Plagiarism Education Week

Students use Wikipedia—but have you ever thought of asking them to contribute content to Wikipedia? In this presentation, LiAnna Davis from the Wiki Education Foundation will explain best practices for using Wikipedia as a teaching tool.

In contributing content to Wikipedia, students gain skills in media literacy, fact-based writing, research, collaboration, and critical thinking — a true authentic learning service project for the digital age.

Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Time: 1pm San Francisco / 2pm Denver / 3pm Chicago / 4pm New York (find your time zone)

Cost: Complimentary

“Certificates of Participation” are provided to attendees of the live event.

This webcast will be recorded and a link sent via email to registrants.


LiAnna Davis, Director of Programs at Wiki Education Foundation, is responsible for all programmatic activities. She oversees program administration, including program planning, staffing, development, budgeting, communications, and evaluation.

Jason Chu is Education Director for Turnitin. His focus is on working to build resources for educators, and his personal passion is to find better ways to enhance student achievement.

via Wikipedia in the Classroom: Authority, Trust, and Information Literacy.

I have also been making an effort to learn more about Snapchat as a tool for libraries and I liked this (albeit, old) School Library Journal article about using it to teach students that the Internet does not forget.

Basically, kids are going to have sex(t)! So we might as well be providing them with a comprehensive sex education, right?

Search literacy lesson plans from Google for the classroom

Search literacy lesson plans from Google for the classroom

Google Search Education provides search literacy lesson plans that can be used in the classroom to teach students about picking the right search terms, understanding search results, narrowing a search to get the best results, searching for evidence for research tasks, evaluating credibility of sources. Each of these topics has a plan developed specifically for beginner, intermediate, or advanced students.

They also have A Google A Day challenges that ask students to find answers to questions so they can test the skills they learned. The challenges are broken up into categories of culture, geography, history, and science. Every challenge asks a questions such as,

Every national flag in the world shares a common geometric characteristic, except for one country. Which country is it?

When you click “View Challenge” it takes you to a Google Slides presentation that walks students through the thought process of answering that specific question.

Tiffany Whitehead on the School Library Journal blog gives some great tips and activities that she has created to teach information literacy to students. This exercise is for a beginner student on picking the right search terms:

  1. Start by imagining that you are making a quiz on the “Percy Jackson” series by Rick Riordan (Disney/Hyperion). One of the questions for your quiz is, “What food does Tyson like best?” Show students the results for that search, which has lots of hits about Tyson chicken but nothing about Percy Jackson.
  1. Explain to students that in order to become better searchers, it’s helpful to understand how a search works. The video “How Search Works” by Matt Cutts gives a great overview.
  1. After watching this short video, discuss how conducting a search is different from talking to a person. Instead of using a complete question, we need to identify key terms for our search. Work through the original question, getting rid of unnecessary words and adding essential terms. Show students the difference in results when using the search terms: Tyson favorite food Percy Jackson.
  1. Have students work in small groups to work through developing search terms for several other search questions.
  1. Challenge students to take what they learned in this lesson and share it with their parents. Re-teaching a concept is a great way to make learning stick, and it’s a bonus to encourage students to share newly acquired knowledge with their parents.

While she found the Google A Day Challenges great, she also found that if students “googled” the exact question they would be taken to an answer that someone had blogged about. She developed a few challenges of her own:

Quelle est la population de la plus grande ville de France?

Create a question such as this one that requires students to use Google Translate.  Translation will show this question is asking, “What is the population of the largest city in France?” Then, students will have to search to find the name of the city and its population.

• After a trip around the world, you return home with 52 British Pound Sterling, 5300 Serbian Dinar, and 120 Euro. How much would this convert to in U.S. Dollars?

Make a question that requires students to use Google Currency Converter to convert all currency to U.S. Dollars, then add for the total.

• A famous athlete said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” What team did they play for in 1990?

Come up with a question that requires students to to find the name of a famous person from a quote or accomplishment, then search for another piece of information about that person.

• In the city that is at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers is one of the world’s largest churches. What type of church is it?

Use reverse design to come up with questions. I recently traveled to Belgrade, Serbia and visited the Temple of Saint Sava, one of the ten largest church buildings in the world. Use what you know or have experienced to create interesting and complex questions.

These tools and her adaptations are wonderful! I particularly love the question in another language. Instead of complaining about students using Google and Wikipedia, using these tools to teach information literacy is a far better use of our time!