Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Into the Library-Verse

Why care about virtual reality? If you’re a current or aspiring librarian, VR might be more
relevant than you think. Simmons professors Catherine Dumas and Rachel Williams are
researching the use of virtual reality in library crisis training, and I recently got to be one of their
guinea pigs!
Virtual reality is “the computer-generated simulation of images or whole environments that can
be experienced using special electronic equipment,” according to the American Library
Association. In this case, an Oculus Quest and Mozilla Hub brought me to a simulated public
I’ve only used VR technology a few times, and each time I’ve been blown away. Moving within
VR is very intuitive to me, which I don’t take for granted. Growing up, I hated when computer
games moved from the point-and-click to 3-D model because I could never get my avatar or the
visual field to go where I wanted. With VR, there’s less need to translate my movement to
artificial controls.

Love this avatar of me that Professors Dumas and Williams created!

As a research guinea pig, I entered the library-verse to watch a presentation on crisis
management in libraries, observe a sample interaction, then role-play an interaction myself. I
found that the virtual representation of space helped contextualize the interactions. When acting
out a situation in a class, it’s easy to forget that real life isn’t contained to a few square feet;
there will always be other patrons and other parts of the building. With VR, our real-life
conference room became a full-size library.

It’s always fun to see how new technology can be leveraged in libraries. I’m excited to see how
virtual reality will be used in the next few years, and grateful that I had the chance to participate
in this research.

“Virtual Reality”, American Library Association, June 16, 2017. (Accessed May 9, 2022) Document ID: