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Oculus Launching Programme to Bring VR to 90 California Libraries

Today, Oculus has unveiled a pilot programme to be run in conjunction with the California State Library to bring virtual reality (VR) to libraries across the state. The pilot program will place 100 Oculus Rifts and Oculus Ready PCs in 90 libraries, from the Oregon border all the way down to Mexico.

Overseen by the Califa Group, while VARLibraries will manage day-to-day operations and hardware deployment, the pilot programme covers less than 10 percent of California’s 1,100+ library branches, with the participating locations spanning nearly half of the state’s 184 library jurisdiction.

“Public libraries provide safe, supportive environments that are available and welcoming to everyone,” said Oculus Education Program Manager Cindy Ball in a statement. “They help level the playing field by providing educational opportunities and access to technology that may not be readily available in the community households. Libraries share the love—at scale.”

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If the programme does prove to be a success, demonstrating interest among library patrons and librarians, California State Library would then need to allocate and/or raise additional funds to expand the pilot to further locations.

“The first time I used a computer in the 1970s, I was inspired to learn computer programming because I wanted to create the same magic I experienced,” says Oculus Seattle Studio General Manager Laird Malamed. “Flash forward to 2012, and I saw my students at USC have similar reactions as they experienced the earliest phases of consumer VR. With our partnership with the California State Library, we now broaden this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what this new group of people are inspired to create and help answer the question of what happens when VR is part of learning.”

Initially the pilot programme will feature 24 titles at launch. These are:

  • Ocean Rift 
  • The Body VR 
  • Unimersiv 
  • Apollo 11 
  • Mars Odyssey 
  • Invasion! 
  • Guided Mediation VR 
  • Titan of Space 2.0 
  • Star Chart 
  • Cat Flight (BBC) 
  • Bear island (BBC) 
  • Oogie (BBC) 
  • Everest 
  • Chernobyl VR 
  • DISCOVR WA 
  • Oculus Video 
  • Oculus 360 
  • Dear Angelica 
  • Lost
  • Henry Dreamdeck 
  • Google Earth 
  • Through the Ages 
  • The People’s House 

“Games have been, and will continue to be, a primary market driver for VR,” notes Ball. “By highlighting the educational potential of VR in libraries, Oculus and Facebook are sending a message that games are not our sole focus.”

Oculus isn’t stopping there either. Its currently discussing with Washington state about bringing a similar VR initiative to its libraries.

As the pilot progresses VRFocus will bring you the latest updates.