Murrell Library adds virtual reality headsets

By Olivia Bettencourt/Staff Writer

The Murrell Library confirmed the addition of virtual reality headsets to the library for the students and staff of Missouri Valley. For a long time, the library staff and other faculty members have talked about how VR headsets can help a lot with learning. Now, it is happening. 

Margot Mirabal, the library’s public relations, marketing, and outreach specialist, took the lead on this project at the beginning of the year after attending a librarian’s conference over the past summer.

“We talked with someone from Lindenwood and they were presenting all the events and activities they were doing in the library,” said Mirabal. “They were talking about VR sets and how they were used on campus and how popular they were.”

After the conference, Mirabal wanted to make it happen and get VR headsets in the library. She also stated how the current president of the college, Dr. Bonnie Humphrey, and president-elect Dr. Joe Parisi, wanted to put more technology in the library and “stay up to date.”

Interim Library Director Samantha Perkins, has helped make this project a reality. 

“It will be a different type of learning,” said Perkins. “Different departments can integrate this into their curriculums.”

Many departments will have access to the headsets for educational purposes, including the communications, humanities, and human services (CHHS) and art departments.

“I think it’s cool,” graphic design student, Miriam Gubo, said. “Everything I do is mostly 2D and not VR. I’m excited to learn more about it [using virtual reality headsets].”

The department this would benefit the most from these VR sets would be the nursing program.

“It’ll give you more of a hands-on scenario versus trying to figure it out through videos or trying to simulate it on a computer,” nursing student, Rachel Gammill, said. She also described how students will get more out of situations with these headsets since they can look at the “3D surroundings.”

Perkins describes how the focus of these VR headsets is learning, but they “would love to provide” entertainment for students who want to come in and have fun hanging out with their friends.  

“In the future, we want to get some apps that are just for the students to enjoy and have nothing to do with educational purposes,” said Mirabal.

Since the library is having renovations over the summer, both Mirabal and Perkins stated they do not have a designated spot for the headsets yet. However, the reading room and the art cove are “two possible spots.”

Currently, the library owns four Meta Quest 2 headsets; the library staff are still setting them up, working out bugs, and downloading applications. Students can expect to use them by the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year in August.

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