Innovation Week: Play and Learn with Virtual Reality in the Library!

Jocelyn Staff Image

Ever wondered what zooming around the universe feels like, or how nomadic tribes live today? Have you ever wanted to walk inside a Van Gogh painting? How about being a wizard for a little while? Virtual reality lets you explore these worlds and more.

For my Innovation Grant, Virtual Discover, I was able to purchase virtual reality equipment to help introduce patrons and staff to its magic. I wanted to offer a new and exciting tool for learning and developing skills, exploring places like our solar system and oceans, and getting people excited for the future.

Virtual reality can help you conquer your fear of heights or public speaking, or foster and grow valuable new skills that will help with your education and career moving forward. Other apps can transport you to different places and cultures around the world, which has been proven to increase empathy and can be a valuable learning tool. The gamification of learning has been very popular lately, and virtual reality maximizes this effective technique with games that, for example, feel like Mario Kart but are actually teaching you how to identify parts of the human cell.

A mother and daughter exploring virtual reality at a VR Walk-In Open Play.
A mother and daughter exploring virtual reality at a VR Walk-In Open Play.

So what do we have to play with? We have two Samsung Gear VR headsets and two Samsung Galaxy s6 phones that use Oculus technology, two Google Daydream headsets and Google Pixel phones and two Google Cardboard headsets. The Google Cardboard headsets are compatible with both iOS and Android phones, and they work best with those that have a four to six inch screen. We do not have extra phones to pair with the Google Cardboard headsets, but we do encourage any patron with a compatible phone to download the Cardboard introductory app prior to your visit.

And if you call CLP – Woods Run home, you can expect to see Google Cardboard headsets available for patron use very soon, as well as the appearance of the Google Daydreams and Samsung Gear VRs at Wednesday afternoon Gaming!

Some of my favorite apps so far include Ocean Rift and In Cell on the Gear, Titans of Space on the Cardboard, and The Turning Forest (BBC) and Fantastic Beasts on the Daydream.

Other exciting virtual reality programs in the works include an immersive Minecraft experience and learning how to actually create virtual reality content of your own. Virtual reality can allow us to not only explore our own communities and experiences more deeply, but also share them with others.

Interested in giving it a try? Stop by the Job and Career Education Center on the second floor of CLP – Main on Fridays in December from 1 -3 p.m. for family friendly Virtual Reality Walk-In Open Play! 

Photo of a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset

Explore the World Without Leaving the Library

Come to a VR Walk-In Open Play!

Jocelyn is a big nerd who enjoys reading, knitting, baking and speaking passionately about pizza. Even though her job as a library assistant in the Job and Career Education Center doesn’t offer too many opportunities to debate Star Wars vs. Star Trek, she greatly enjoys helping people find resources and prepare for their careers and life changes.