Virtual Reality: Coming Soon to a Library Near You?

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are the new rage in gaming–and why not?  Video games have always grappled with point of view and immersive experiences.  With increasingly immersive technology and stunning graphic capabilities, VR headsets are the next step in drawing the player into the virtual world.

But what if you could use this technology in the library?  How would that work?

The Lowdown

What new knowledge, skills or understanding have you gained?  (Description)

This week, I learned about how libraries can use Virtual Reality technologies.  VR may be used in libraries in a variety of ways.  For example, storytelling or storytime may be ehanced with apps like vrse, which helps make stories come alive.  Libraries may provide access to educational experiences, like NASA’s Oculus app which lets users experience what it is like to ride in a spaceship.  These types of experiences aren’t limited to the elementary school-aged crowd: Toyota has developed a VR driving simulator that can help teens experience distracted driving in a safe environment.  Or what if you could help low-income patrons experience the world like never before?  Other apps can provide virtual field trip experiences, which allow users of all ages to experience the world in a completely different and enhanced manner.  Realistically never going to be able to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids?  No problem–Oculus can do that; your library can help.

How can you use what you have learned?  (Application)

I can use this information to discuss and make more informed decisions about VR/AR technology and the utility of its inclusion in the library.  I can also use this baseline information as a starting point to learn more about the specific technologies available, which may assist in material/technology selection.

How does it relate to library work?  (Reflection)

VR/AR technology is a hot new topic in which many patrons are interested.  Knowing more about this technology is important for librarians because they should be able to competently discuss the technology options with the public.  It may also relate to library work if a library is considering adding this technology to their services/items available.

What resources (activities) have helped you to understand and/or have been interesting to use?  (Activities/Resources)

Lambert, T.  (2016).  Virtual reality in the library: Creating a new experience.  Public Libraries Online.  Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2016/02/virtual-reality-in-the-library-creating-a-new-experience/

Sarno, D.  Virtual reality for learning: Linking communities with library-based world building.  Retrieved from https://www.newschallenge.org/challenge/libraries/feedback/virtual-reality-for-learning-linking-communities-with-library-based-world-building

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