"Pokemon Go" as an addictive mobile game has been proven in all the countries where it's released. What has not yet been apparently shown is its potential as an educational tool.
Now, a recent report revealed that one library in West Pittston, Pennsylvania is using the social qualities of the smartphone game as a way to invite students to interact with the library more often.
The West Pittston Library held its inaugural "Pokémon Go" event on Sept. 17. The school library gathered about 30 children along with their parents to hunt Pokemon within the school's vicinity.
On your mark. Get set. Poke'mon GO! Join our expedition on 9/16 throughout West Pittston! Call 654.9847 or stop by to reserve your spot!
— WestPittston Library (@westpittstonlib) September 2, 2016
Summer Belles, Youth Services Coordinator of the school, prepared a route around the school where children and parents can go hunt for Pokemon.
According to Belles, she chose a Pokemon event because the smartphone app has power to attract people and the ability to bring together children and adults in one game that they can enjoy in an outdoor setting.
"I knew it was popular, it gets everyone from the community to come together," Belles said.
Belles explained the safety measures when playing the game to ensure no child gets hurt or lost in the activity.
She told the children that when they are looking for Pokemon, they must be aware of the places they are walking and watch out for their surroundings particularly in streets with many passing cars.
She also mentioned to the parents not to play the game while driving.
Some of the PokeStops were around the library so children happily looked around the place for Pokeballs and Pokemon.
A West Pittston resident, Kendra Rogers, said that playing the game is a weekly family event that not only brings the community together, but allows everyone to also have much needed outdoor exercise.
"It's fun, the kids get to meet other kids that play," she said. "Plus, there's nothing wrong with taking a walk outside for an hour."
Rogers also shared that the game feels nostalgic for her because when she was still a child, she used to watch the original Pokemon series on TV.
The library also added two Pokemon books to its collections to celebrate the event.
The West Pittston Library is one of the few educational institutions in the U.S. who have taken advantage of the social qualities of the game.
On the other hand, some schools like the one in Minnesota have actively distanced itself from the game, even contacting Niantic to remove some Pokestops located within their schools.