Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality in the library

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/06/2019


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — The current price of virtual reality headsets may seem out of economic reach for most libraries, but the potential of “assisted reality” tools goes well beyond merely inviting patrons to strap on a pair of goggles. Ranging from enhanced training to using third-party apps to enrich digital collections, there is a kaleidoscope of library uses for augmented, virtual, or mixed reality. In the new collection “Beyond Reality: Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality in the Library,” published by ALA Editions, editor Kenneth J. Varnum and his hand-picked team of contributors share exciting, surprising, and inspiring case studies from a mix of institution types, spotlighting such topics as:

  • collaborative virtual reality for improved library instruction, education, and learning and teaching;
  • 3D modeling using virtual reality;
  • virtual reality as collaboration space, from gaming to teleconferencing;
  • balancing access with security, and other privacy issues;
  • future possibilities for augmented reality in public libraries; and
  • augmented reality for museums and special collection libraries.

Varnum is senior program manager for discovery, delivery, and learning analytics at the University of Michigan Library. Over his two decades working with public-facing technology in academic, corporate, and special libraries, he has gained a deep appreciation and understanding of the need to tailor systems and interfaces to the local user base. In addition to numerous articles and chapters he wrote “Drupal in Libraries,” and edited the LITA guide “New Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know” and Lorcan Dempsey's “The Network Reshapes the Library,” among other books. He blogs at and can be found on Twitter at @varnum.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions and ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or