Explore Your Community with Pokemon Go!

It has been roughly one month since Niantic released Pokemon GO in the United States.  Within days of being released, Pokemon GO became the most popular mobile game in US history, quickly amassing millions of active users. In no time at all, the augmented reality game had more users than Tinder, Twitter, and plenty of other apps. 

It isn’t surprising that the game took off the way it did. The Pokemon franchise has kept a solid fan base since its release a full twenty years ago, and many of those fans were chomping at the bit for a new game after a full year of no releases in 2015 . When a new game was released that was not only free but allowed players to catch Pokemon in real life, of course it became overwhelmingly popular.

While the popularity of the game wasn’t surprising, it was certainly unexpected. Pokemon GO players are all familiar with the app crashes and server disconnects that makes the game an even mix of fun and frustration. Recent updates to the app may have even tipped the scales for some.  Niantic’s removal of the tracking feature, the ban on third party trackers such as PokeVision and PokeNotify, and a few other issues have several trainers ready to call it quits 

All that being said, there’s still plenty of fun to be had by those who aim to be the very best like no one ever was. In July the Library shared a blog post with ideas for day trips, and that’s exactly the sort of activity Pokemon GO inspires. Pokemon GO is great a motivator to get up and explore your community.  

On one Pokemon hunting expedition I crossed the Purple People Bridge (which I had somehow never done in my nearly twenty years living here) and found myself on the American Discovery Trail. Not only did I catch five Dratini, a Magmar, and an Electabuzz, but I also spent the day on an unexpected, self-guided tour through the history of an area I’ve lived in nearly all my life.

Me and my fiance about to cross the Purple People Bridge. Photo by Grace Johantges.

Me and my fiance about to cross the Purple People Bridge.
Photo by Grace Johantges.

While urban areas have proven to be the best place for hunting rare Pokemon, there are plenty of opportunities for a successful Pokemon hunt in Boone County. There’s a point in Historic Burlington where three PokeStops can be reached from one corner, and there has been an Onyx taunting me from Boone Woods for weeks.  I hope to finally catch him–and plenty of other Pokemon–during the Pokemon GO Safaris the library is hosting at different Boone County Parks on Thursdays in August


Chelsea Swinford is a Youth Services Associate at the Main Library. She’s a Pokemon Professor, and hosts a Pokemon League for grades K-12 the fourth Monday of the month at the Main Library in Burlington.


9 Homework Help Tools for Kids and Teens

From sources for those last-minute papers to always available e-books and lots of stuff in between, you can find information on just about anything from anywhere in the world through Boone County Public Library’s website.

Click “Research” near the top of our webpage, and you’ll find some trustworthy Research Tools that can help take the stress out of assignments. Search the drop-down list for age-appropriate Homework Help for Kids or Teens. Most of these research tools require a library card, but getting a free library card is easy; stop by any of our locations with an ID and proof of address and one of our staff will assist you. (If under 18, a parent/guardian must sign your application.) In the meantime, here are highlights for some of the tools we think you will find most helpful.

 Homework Help for Kids and Teens:

  1. Amazing Animals of the World is a great place to find out what makes each animal special. Thousands of animals from all around the world are covered with pictures and clear, simple menus.
  2. Britannica Elementary is for pre-K and elementary school students to grade 5. This is a standard encyclopedia for the younger set. There is also a link to the middle school version for kids in grades 6-8.
  3. The New Book of Knowledge has engaging graphics and lively, age-appropriate text to motivate young students through the research process for elementary students and beyond.
  4. EBSCOhostweb lets you search thousands of magazines and journal articles, all in one place, and the best part is … they’re legitimate sources!
  5. LearningExpress Library is where you can find practice tests for free! Everything from College Entrance Exams (ACT and SAT) and the ASVAB, to AP tests, job tests and last-minute practice for that algebra test you forgot about!
  6. Literature Resource Center has everything you need for your literary research paper in one place, including literary criticisms, timelines, author info, and bios.
  7. Mango is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to learn a foreign language. Choose from 71 foreign and 19 English language learning options. Try one language or try them all – it’s up to you! (There’s even a Pirate language course!)
  8. Opposing Viewpoints covers today’s hottest social issues from offshore drilling to climate change, health care to immigration. This tool can help you prepare for debates, create presentations, research for papers and more.
  9. National Geographic Virtual Library gives you access to 127 years of the magazine. Here, you’ll find articles about history, culture, and the most distant corners of the world.