Kling Memorial Library unveils new virtual reality system

Riley Allen (above) and her sister Maura were some of the first kids in Grundy Center to test out the new virtual reality system at the library last week. (Michaela Kendall/Grundy Register photo)

GRUNDY CENTER – On any given day, a person could go deep sea diving, hike Mount Everest, or visit space, all without leaving the comfort of the Kling Memorial Library, thanks to a new virtual reality system that’s available for public use.


Library Director Lindsey Engelkes says the brand new technology was just set up in February, and will be available for use starting this week.


“We really wanted to bring this technology to our library to spark some interest within the community,” Engelkes said. “This is for all ages; kids, teens and adults. We want to give people the opportunity to experience something outside the norm, maybe that they’ve never experienced before. With the VR system, you can do basically anything. You could be standing in the middle of Central Park, without ever leaving the library. It really just opens up a whole new world.”


Engelkes said most of the ‘experiences’ are educational, and all of them are kid-friendly, but still fun for even the most serious of adults.


Some of the experiences currently downloaded to the system include a sketchbook experience where the user can create art in 3D, a blue whale experience to teach about aquatic life, a Mount Everest experience in which a user virtually hikes the mammoth mountain, and Google Earth, which allows the user to travel anywhere on Earth and walk the streets like a local.


“This really goes along with the library’s goal of creating a level playing field for everyone in the community,” Engelkes said. “It gives people who might not otherwise have access to this expensive equipment the opportunity to experience it. It really is a resource for the community.”


Engelkes added that the library staff hopes to use the system for programming, and that they are already planning to use it as part of the upcoming “Teen Tech Week” at the library – an event that enables local students to create and discover with digital tools.


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