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PROVO — The Provo City Library’s decision to remove four Pokestops from its property has drawn a mixed response from library patrons and fans of “Pokemon Go.”
In the game, Pokestops serve as a place for players to gather tools and catch more Pokemon. The Provo Library’s Pokestops were especially popular, with people gathering on the property at all times of the day and night to play.
Library officials requested the stops be removed due to “unexpected costs and increased problems,” according to a post on the library’s blog posted Thursday. They said the library was notified that its request was granted on Aug. 2.
“The Pokestops were then removed more quickly than we expected and we regret that we were not able to inform our publics in advance,” the blog post reads. “Moving forward, we want to preserve the love and enthusiasm for this game in a manner that is safe and sustainable. At the current time, we are unable to provide an environment for ‘Pokemon Go’ on such a massive scale.”
The library cited injuries as being the most concerning problem resulting from game play, but didn’t provide additional details about how people were hurt. Officials said they discussed the matter with numerous officials in Provo City and some players after receiving complaints from library patrons and others.
“Some of our concerns were minor: increased wear on our grass; an increase in our building’s power consumption; a dramatic increase in the amount of trash brought to the property,” the blog post reads. “Other behaviors were more concerning: we witnessed people selling food and other items — like our electricity — without a permit; we witnessed many players frustrated when their cars were locked in our underground parking overnight; we’ve had complaints about noise levels and activity from surrounding properties. Parking for library events and activities became difficult as event attendees had to park blocks away from the library. Alcohol consumption on the library grounds was also reported.”
A Facebook post on the library’s page has more than 100 comments, with some defending the decision and others arguing the library shouldn’t be able to remove the stops since it is publicly owned. People also took to the original blog post to share their thoughts.
“We own you, library,” someone with the screen name DumpSniff wrote in a comment. “This was completely arrogant to think you can have some agenda of your own. You exist to serve the public no matter how it wants to be served. If that is standing on your lawn, perfect — do it with a happy face. I was really impressed with how the library originally responded, in this attitude of service. They put out garbage cans for the players, which is a form of welcoming them. Complete turnaround.”
Others who played the game at the library said they understood where the library was coming from.
“I was one of the regulars playing there every night soon after I got back to Utah,” someone with the screen name mleblanc138 wrote in a comment. “There was dubstep music, honking cars, and people yelling things like ‘get a life you nerds’ — all of which were going on until midnight and beyond pretty much every night. While I'm sad to see my new favorite hangout disappear so fast, I can understand how it was becoming a public nuisance.”
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