Track C: (Jefferson) — Virtual Worlds & Libraries – Monday 23 October
13:30 – 14:30
Virtual augmented reality (VAR) technology is emerging as the new medium for 21st-century learning. VAR immersive experiences are now feasible and available with new technology, interfaces, and software being released daily. California Libraries are testing and using VR and VAR in a project funded by the California State Library. Greg Lucas, State Librarian, funded multiple installations of VR and VAR systems in Marin County Libraries serving underserved communities. After the successful pilot in Marin, the California State Library; CALIFA; Marin County Free Library; and New Media Learning, a nonprofit learning organization based in Marin County, deployed a California statewide expansion to more than 100 libraries, creating the largest installed base of VR systems in libraries. This network builds an archive of shared experiences and best practices. A critical component is that the project has partnerships with the tech companies in VR and VAR development including Oculus and VIVE and multiple content providers with an education and learning focus. The partners describe the project and demonstrate how public libraries are positioned to be one of the catalysts for community engagement and VAR content development.