Libraries' VR program featured in American Libraries Magazine


Pete Schreiner, Jill Sexton, and David Woodbury were featured in American Libraries magazine discussing the potential roles virtual reality (VR) can play in the work of NC State students and faculty. “Say you’re studying civil engineering. You can fly across a city to see how highways are laid out,” says Schreiner, a current NCSU Libraries Fellow. “Or we have a lot of computer science students here who design games. To be able to play a dozen games in VR and see how the designers handled movement in them—that can mean a lot when you’re designing your own game.” 

In the article, Woodbury, Department Head for Learning Spaces & Services, explains the importance of having the Libraries be the hub of such emerging technologies. “We found very quickly that one of the things that our campus needs is a space that’s dedicated for VR, because of the complications of needing fast computers, needing to be able to move around within a set area, needing expert help close by to troubleshoot...[t]he library is a nice intersection of these disciplines...a neutral area for people to come together and learn how new immersive technology might fit their field, how different disciplines can work together to solve a problem. It continues our tradition of democratizing access to technology, like we do with databases and books.”

Sexton, now Interim Associate Director for the Digital Library, assures other libraries interested in providing similar services that it's totally doable. “[Y]ou don’t need a lot to get started,” says Sexton. “It really depends on getting these VR headsets and a couple of computers that are powerful enough to power the headsets. You don’t need to have a lot of infrastructure in place. It’s more about building partnerships and making these consumer technologies accessible to students, and providing resources and time for your staff to get up to speed.”