How Your Library Can Benefit from Emerging Library Technologies Like AR and VR

Library Technology

Libraries have never been strangers to innovation and pushing the boundaries of technological adoption. As Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) gain widespread popularity, you can leverage these emerging library technologies to offer immersive experiences to your patrons.

This article explores how libraries can benefit from AR and VR and discuss their potential applications.

AR/VR and Libraries

AR and VR are becoming increasingly popular in libraries as they provide immersive experiences that can enhance learning, engagement, and accessibility.

Both AR and VR have the potential to revolutionize the way we experience the world around us, and libraries can take advantage of this technology.

For example: parents can find AR books for young children to make learning more fun, and help children visualize concepts that may be difficult for them to understand.

Another great way to use AR/VR technologies is by pairing them with library automation. For example: librarians can create VR experiences for their patrons that simulate the experience of visiting their library in the physical world, and use automation to provide assistance through a chatbot like ChatGPT.

AR/VR and libraries are an ideal partnership where learning and technology converge. Now let’s dive into the benefits of both these techonlogies for libraries.

Benefits of AR and VR for Libraries


AR and VR technologies can transform accessibility in the library world by offering virtual tours and life-like experiences. With this technology, libraries can now cater to people who are unable to physically visit the library.

VR technology can bring libraries to anyone with an internet connection, making it easier for people to access library resources than ever before.

Virtual Reality can also be used to create experiences for people with visual impairment by designing specially colored or high contrast visuals. As we move towards a more accessible world, we can count on technology to accelerate our efforts.


By offering interactive learning programs and immersive storytelling experiences, libraries can engage and inspire patrons in ways that traditional books simply cannot. This is particularly beneficial for younger generations who are well acquainted with dynamic digital media experiences.

Imagine this: with AR, not only will your children be able to read fairytales – but also see characters like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, and many more – come to life. Can you think of how much more fun story time would’ve been if we could these characters in 3D while growing up?


(Image credits: Stambol Studios)

The educational potential of AR and VR is limitless. Augmented Reality in libraries can create engaging learning experiences by allowing people to see 3D versions of topics they’re studying. Some apps also allow you interact with these 3D objects by changing their shape, color, size, or by giving a 360 degree view.

Imagine taking a virtual tour of a historical site, or using AR while visiting the site to uncover fascinating insights about its past. Or exploring complex engineering concepts in a 3D learning environment.

Universities and higher education institutes – especially the ones that use education software – can integrate AR/VR technologies in their libraries to help students easily understand and learn concepts with the help of interactive 3D models.

Some educational institutes are already benefitting from AR/VR technologies by adding tools like Oculus VR and HoloLens to their libraries so students can learn and design better. For example: Temple University in Philadelphia uses Microsoft HoloLens as their first AR system. Or Northern Arizona University uses Oculus Quest Kit as their virtual reality kit.

AR and VR are undoubtedly the future of education and one of the most exciting technologies for libraries.


With AR and VR, libraries can preserve precious artifacts and rare materials for future generations to enjoy. These technologies allow libraries to digitize fragile materials, making them more accessible to the public while simultaneously safeguarding them for posterity.

Plus, virtual reality experiences can bring history to life like never before, allowing users to explore artefacts in stunning detail without risking damage to the originals.

Think about it; as kids we’ve all had to stand behind the fence to see exhibit items. But with AR/VR, people don’t have to stand in queues to get a glimpse. You can create a 3D model of artefacts, and patrons can simply open the 3D model to view it in detail without having to touch it. That’s the power of AR/VR.

Now let’s take a look at some potential applications of having these technologies in libraries.

Potential Applications

Virtual Tours

One of the most commonly employed applications of AR/VR technologies in libraries will be the creation of virtual tours. It will allow libraries to offer patrons an immersive experience, as well as visit areas of the library that cannot be physically visited by anyone. Such things would be impossible without VR technology.

Moreover, a VR library will allow you to create virtual tours of historical sites, landmarks, and museums, making it possible for people to explore these locations from anywhere in the world.

Interactive Learning Programs

Emerging library technologies like AR and VR can also be used to create interactive learning programs. For example, libraries can use virtual reality simulations to enable users to explore scientific concepts or augmented reality games that teach history or geography.

These programs can be designed to cater to a wide range of audiences, from children to adults.

Digitization Projects

Digitization projects are another area where AR and VR technology can be utilized in libraries. It will help libraries digitize rare and fragile materials, and reduce the risk of damaging them in public.

For instance, a library could use VR technology to digitize a rare manuscript, enabling users to view and interact with it in a virtual environment. The use of AR/VR is completely new and waiting to reach it’s full potential.

Digitization isn’t new to libraries since many convert their physical items into digital assets like eBooks and PDFs. In fact, our teams have helped universities, and other institutes upgrade their libraries to digital collections or repositories using open source software like Koha, DSpace, and EPrints.

If your library isn’t using such software, or hasn’t taken the next step towards digitazation, it’s time you get started. Upgrade your library from a physical to a digital one, or enhance your digital library with automation. Talk to our teams to upgrade your libraries.

Leading the Road to Change

Your library can, in fact, become a leader in the AR/VR technology adoption in your community.

Librarians can organize events based on AR/VR, and invite patrons or local community members to experience these technologies. This way, your library gradually starts introducing new technology, and patrons can start adapting to their usage.

With companies like Meta investing over $36 billion into Metaverse and VR, you can be sure that these technologies are here to stay. Right now is the perfect time for you to get a leg up on your library’s goals, and become a leader in digital learning.

AR Books

AR books are physical books that incorporate augmented reality technology to enhance the reading experience. For example, a book about dinosaurs could include an AR component that allows you to see 3D models of the dinosaurs as they read.

AR book recommendations:

  • “Animal World: A Safari Adventure” by Bloomsbury Publishing
  • “The Magic School Bus: Expedition to the Human Body” by Scholastic Inc.
  • “Dinosaurs! A Jurassic Experience” by Carlton Books

VR Books

Similar to AR books, VR books are physical books that incorporate virtual reality technology to create an immersive reading experience. For example, a VR book about space could allow readers to explore the solar system in a 3D virtual environment.

VR book recommendations:

  • “A Journey Through Time and Space” by Michael Benson
  • “The Virtual Body” by Mediamerge Limited
  • “The VR Book: Human-Centered Design for Virtual Reality” by Jason Jerald

Resources to Learn About AR/VR

Librarians interested in learning more about AR and VR can find various resources on the Internet. Some popular resources include:

Parting Thoughts

The integration of AR and VR technologies has the power to transform the library experience. The possibilities are endless, from immersive virtual tours to interactive educational programs.

As these emerging library technologies progress, it will be fascinating to witness how libraries push the boundaries of innovation to create novel and enriching experiences for their patrons.

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This article is part of a collaborative series between GR Techand industry leaders, aimed at bringing new ideas andinsights to our readers.


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