The MERGE Headset adapts smartphones into VR viewers with access to games, 360-degree video, and educational content.

Alternate Realities, Simplified

November 1, 2019

MERGE While specialized VR equipment can be expensive and difficult to loan, MERGE offers a suite of apps and accessories to make augmented and virtual reality more accessible and portable through common technology including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The MERGE Cube is a small foam cube that, when used with its accompanying apps, allows users … Continue reading Alternate Realities, Simplified


The MERGE Cube AR STEM toy works with a smartphone.

Tech Trends

March 1, 2019

American Libraries spoke with three library tech leaders—panelists from the Library and Information Technology Association’s Top Tech Trends panel at the 2019 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits—about what apps, devices, software, and best practices their libraries have implemented and how others can, too. Explore immersive technologies Libraries haven’t fully explored the potential of virtual reality (VR), … Continue reading Tech Trends


Residents of The Highlands at the Moorings of Arlington Heights assisted-living facility in Illinois enjoy a ­virtual tour of Monticello.

It’s Not Such A Small World After All

March 1, 2019

Many seniors are prevented from traveling the world—or even just taking a stroll outside—by limited physical or cognitive abilities. But now, thanks to virtual reality, older patrons of Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library don’t have to feel homebound: The world is coming to them. Mary Jo Lepo, the library’s senior and accessible services manager, first … Continue reading It’s Not Such A Small World After All


Hannah Pope

Virtual and Augmented Reality

September 4, 2018

Budget-friendly VR and AR devices are available that can reach a broad spectrum of library users. One option launched in 2014 is still useful: Google Cardboard. Using a combination smartphone and simple viewer, the Cardboard headset allows patrons to experience a multitude of low-level VR applications. While not comprehensive, it does offer a taste of … Continue reading Virtual and Augmented Reality


Virtual Reality

In a Virtual World

March 1, 2018

Throughout this period of growth and expansion, libraries and librarians have once again demonstrated their adaptability to new information formats and user needs with moves that reflect the various directions VR has moved. Whether it is classroom use of Google Expeditions, new educational spaces and lending programs on academic campuses, or a demonstrated commitment to … Continue reading In a Virtual World


NCSU student Bharat Karunakaran plays Job Simulator with an Oculus Rift headset in Hill Library's VR Studio.

Making Virtual Reality a Reality

September 1, 2017

First-person shooter games. Military training exercises. Those are the applications most often associated with the words “virtual reality” (VR). But as new library offerings at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh demonstrate, VR represents an amazing, state-of-the-art resource that can enhance just about any discipline, from cartography to psychology, architecture to English. No recordings … Continue reading Making Virtual Reality a Reality


10 Tech Trends

Top Library Tech Trends

May 1, 2017

American Libraries spoke to library tech leaders—members of the Library and Information Technology Association’s popular Top Tech Trends panel from the 2017 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits—to get the apps, devices, software, and best practices that you can adopt for your library right now and in the near future. 1. Take patrons on a virtual tour … Continue reading Top Library Tech Trends


Matthew Boyer speaking at the “Immersive and Interactive: Virtual Reality in a Contextually-Rich Learning Environment” session

Virtual Reality as the New Field Trip: The Importance of Place in Learning

January 22, 2017

Boyer started the session with the example of the New York Times recently giving its subscribers Google cardboard in order to allow them to view newly published content in a virtual reality format. “The question becomes for all of us, is virtual reality the next content delivery platform?” Boyer said. Technology companies are investing in … Continue reading Virtual Reality as the New Field Trip: The Importance of Place in Learning


A user in the NASA booth takes a virtual tour of Mars at SXSWi in Austin, Texas.

South by Southwest Interactive, Day Two

March 17, 2016

The highlight of the speech was about digital initiatives that the White House is promoting to help level the field for access in the US, but the president stumbled over referring to the OpenEbooks Initiative being led by the Digital Public Library of America, the New York Public Library, the White House, and other stakeholders. Luckily, a friendly librarian … Continue reading South by Southwest Interactive, Day Two