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Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records

Amplify classroom lessons with immersive technology

(top to bottom) Tod Colgrove, Kathy Rush, Kelly Robertson, and Joy Holt entering the first XR record into WorldCat
(top to bottom) Tod Colgrove, Kathy Rush, Kelly Robertson, and Joy Holt entering the first XR record into WorldCat
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“Nevada’s state library is advancing access to 3D and immersive content to help amplify what's learned in the classroom because libraries are vital in that role. Librarians also help every age of learner access information and learn, which is so necessary to thrive in today’s knowledge economy. We’re also helping deliver on the need to sharpen STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, which is a linchpin competency for everyone in the twenty-first century.”

Tammy Westergard, MLS

State Librarian, Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records

Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records added records to WorldCat® to share extended reality (XR) materials—which include virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality resources—with Nevada libraries to better support all Nevadans. As State Librarian Tammy Westergard explained, “This effort is an example of how we serve the community, because this content is twenty-first century. And we all know that if it isn’t accessible or discoverable or living in WorldCat, it doesn’t exist to librarians.” Cataloging and Government Publications Librarian Kelly Robertson enjoyed the honor of adding the first WorldCat record that describes virtual reality material. 

The Nevada XR Libraries program, which began with initial funding from the Nevada Legislature, involved 16 libraries, including 13 public libraries, 2 school libraries, and 1 special library. During the pilot, library staff planned and held a XR Catalog Hackathon, which brought together volunteers from Nevada and the Marin County (California) Free Library, led by Sara Jones, Director of County Library Services for the Marin County Free Library System. They cataloged 395 XR objects into WorldCat over a 9-hour period. 

Kelly coordinated the Hackathon with OCLC, “who was able to get us the authorizations for both Connexion® and WebDewey®. It worked out really well, and people really enjoyed using those tools.” She mentioned that, for MLS students and librarians participating, “this was their first experience learning what cooperative cataloging is.”

“The feedback from our survey was how much [XR hackathon participants] enjoyed being able to use cataloger tools, seeing Connexion and WebDewey for the first time. They felt like they were immersed in the cataloging realm, and they thought it was an excellent experience.”

Kelly Robertson, Cataloging and Government Publications Librarian

“And now, all the public libraries in Nevada have access to those records, and they pop up when you make a search,” explained Kelly. To date, more than 1,700 hundred Nevadans have had these 3D immersive experiences in Nevada libraries. Tammy added that, “overwhelmingly, those who used the XR technology all indicated that because of the experience they feel like they have learned something and that they would use what they learned. It’s increased their critical thinking.”

The Nevada library followed California’s example by establishing both XR hardware and software in public libraries. “We had public libraries in the pilot program to connect directly to schools and deliver XR content,” said Tammy. This content, from Lifeliqe, focuses on STEM subjects and pairs with lesson plans, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards.

Nevada’s “Libraries = Education” project successfully connected public libraries with school libraries through XR programming. Teachers reported that students “increased learning and had better outcomes when they had the opportunity to go into a 3D experience that was in line with the science concept they were learning,” Tammy said. “For example, in a biology class, students can actually go into a lung and see what it looks like from the inside out.” One record added, “Argentinosaurus: VR experience,” allows students to view an Argentinosaurus migration!

Kelly and other library staff are busy planning another Hackathon to catalog more XR content during the Nevada Library Association Conference in November 2019. “It’ll show people how important cataloging is and what we actually do. And it’ll show administrators why it’s important to have a trained cataloger who can create these templates, who understands what a controlled vocabulary is, and who can create a classification and call number correctly,” said Kelly. The library will also purchase cameras that Nevada libraries can check out to create 360° videos. “Really, librarians have a lot of influence on what kind of resources are made available to communities,” Tammy said. “By putting these resources into WorldCat, our librarians can find and access them, making the most efficient distribution of this impactful format possible.” 

Location

  • Carson City, Nevada, United States

Library at a glance

  • Supports 86 public libraries, 10 college/universities, 17 school districts, 16 special libraries, and 2.9 million Nevada residents
  • Provides Talking Books for readers who are visually and/or physically impaired
  • Houses historic Nevada newspapers, state records, and microfilm records
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Mark Anderson (left), Lifeliqe CEO, and Sara Jones (right), Director of County Library Services for the Marin County Free Library in California, pose wearing XR gear masks.

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Tammy Westergard cataloging during the XR Catalog Hackathon.

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