Librarian perspectives on the role of virtual reality in public libraries

Kung Jin Lee, W. E. King, Negin Dahya, Jin Ha Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper explores librarians’ perception of virtual reality as well as opportunities and challenges associated with implementing VR in public libraries. We interviewed 36 librarians who developed and offered VR programs as part of the research project, before and after the programming. The findings show how VR may be used in the public library as a learning tool and technology that encourages social interactions. Librarians discuss how the unique qualities of VR such as immersion and interactivity of VR makes it different from other digital media and present a different set of potential challenges when offered in the library. Librarians observed that while VR has a lot of potential as a technology for learning and social engagement, the success also largely depends on the VR content as well as the librarian's strategy for recruitment and promotion. In addition, we found that librarians had different understandings of what constitutes learning as well as how marginalized communities might benefit from this technology. The librarians we interviewed faced many challenges, however, our analysis of their experiences offers insight into designing successful VR programming in public libraries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere254
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was made possible in part by the Washington State Libraries and Oculus. We also thank the undergraduate researchers, Megha Goel and Hekma Yassin for their valuable contribution in data analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
83rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology October 25-29, 2020. Author(s) retain copyright, but ASIS&T receives an exclusive publication license.


  • digital media
  • informal learning
  • library programming
  • social engagement
  • virtual reality


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