In a Virtual World

How school, academic, and public libraries are testing virtual reality in their communities

Virtual Reality

 March 1, 2018, first appearing in American Libraries Magazine

In the past several years, virtual reality (VR) technology has finally begun to fulfill what had long been promised. Traditional VR, which creates environments that allow people to be “present” in an alternative environment, has been advanced by offerings from Oculus, Sony, Google, and Samsung. At the same time, products like Google’s Cardboard have led the growth of 360-degree video that captures an entire scene in which the viewer can look up, down, and around. Instead of just games and entertainment, VR content is exploding with news, information, and educational content.

Throughout this period of growth and expansion, libraries and librarians have once again demonstrated their adaptability to new information formats and user needs with moves that reflect the various directions VR has moved. Whether it is classroom use of Google Expeditions, new educational spaces and lending programs on academic campuses, or a demonstrated commitment to equitable access to this new technology in public libraries, librarians have taken on VR as a new way to engage their users.

In the months and years ahead, library professionals will likely need to consider how VR and 360-degree video fit into their commitments to acquire and organize information, make the informational content of this technology available for reference and citation, and empower users to be both media consumers and creators. For now, … libraries and librarians are showing how they can innovate with this latest trend in media and information.

Read on…


To experience virtual reality at the Moline Public Library, stop by the second floor where we have a virtual tour of the new I74 river bridge!


Know someone looking for a job?

Come to the IDES Job Fair and the Moline Library next Thursday!


The feeling is mutual.

February is National Library Lovers Month!

books, library, students

There is a lot of love flying around during the month February and at least some of it is directed at libraries. This is the month to reflect on just how much your favorite library – school, public, academic, special, private, corporate, etc. – means to you and the others that use its collection and services.

Literally millions of you visit us each day nation wide. Millions. So we already know that you love us, even if you don’t always say it.

Looking for a more concrete way to express your love for your library but think roses are cliche and chocolates cause cavities? Here are three ideas for you:


Just stop by. Even if it has been awhile. Especially if you have never been. There’s no better time to stop in. Browse the shelves, maybe sign up for or renew that library card, check out a book or two or ten, sit down and read a magazine, or attend a program; whatever you’d like.


The Friends of the Moline Public Library Sale Room in the library is totally run by volunteers who assist patrons in selections, accept new donations, restock shelves and sort received materials in our sorting room. Interested? Please print out our Friends Volunteer Application and return the completed form to the Moline Public Library or you can complete the form online.


In addition to giving your valuable time as a volunteer, material and funding donations are always welcome. Books and other donated materials help to supplement our collection and those items that don’t end up on shelf will go to our Sale Room with the proceeds from its sale then going back to the library. Monetary donations help to fund valued library services and programs that are enjoyed by our library patrons. Every little bit helps and is very much appreciated.

Red Rising Ditto

Big fan of the series or pumpded about book 4, Iron Gold? Here are some others things you might enjoy.

Red Rising Shelf End Ditto NU

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

 December 19, 2017, first appearing on American Libraries Magazine

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here are 10 reasons why libraries are still better than the internet.

  1. Libraries are safer spaces. The internet brings people together, often in enjoyable and productive ways, such as over shared interests (pop culture blogs, fanfic sites) or common challenges (online support groups). But cyberbullying and trolling can leave people reluctant to engage with folks they disagree with or to share their ideas in the first place. Libraries are places where people can gather constructively and all are welcome.
  2. Libraries respect history. Web pages are ephemeral, and link rot is a real problem. The content of library collections is much more stable. Printed materials are generally published on acid-free paper, which will not disintegrate. And librarians are leading the way to bring similar stability to the web through services like the Internet Archive and
  3. Librarians digitize influential primary sources. While looking at historical artifacts is valuable, repeated physical handling can damage them. Making digital versions of important works available online—as in the National Library of Medicine’s Turning the Pages project—is one solution. Library digitization projects also provide information to people who do not have the resources to travel to a particular library. Librarians are using the emerging technology of the internet to further the timeless mission of providing better access to information. The internet is the platform that enables this progress, but librarians are doing the work.
  4. Librarians are leaders in increasing online access to scholarly information. The open accessmovement makes scholarly articles available to all readers online, and librarians have been strong advocates of the movement for more than a decade. This access is especially critical when reporting the results of medical research, which is often funded by taxpayer dollars.
  5. Librarians are publishers. Scholarly publishers still provide the journals and books that researchers develop. But librarians have joined these efforts by becoming publishers themselves. New librarian-led publishing initiatives take full advantage of the web and generally make new work available on an open access basis. One example of library publishing, which is common in academic libraries, is the institutional repository. These repositories collect and preserve the broad range of a college or university’s intellectual output, such as datasets gathered in research studies, computer code used in software development, and conference proceedings.
  6. Libraries host makerspaces. Given that makerspaces provide venues for creativity, learning, and community, it only makes sense that libraries champion them. The maker movement has grown rapidly—in 2016 there were 14 times as many makerspaces as in 2006. Both public and academic libraries host makerspaces. You can learn about makerspaces online, of course. But to visit one you have to venture into the physical world.
  7. Librarians can help you sort the real news from the fake. While a plethora of useful, accurate, and engaging content is available online, the web is filled with inaccurate and misleading information. “Click bait” headlines get you to click on the content even if the underlying information is superficial or inaccurate. Misinformation is the spread of deliberate falsehoods or inflammatory content online, such as the Russian-backed ads placed on social media during the 2016 US presidential election. Librarianship has always been about providing objective, accurate, and engaging information that meets the needs of a particular person. This has not changed, and it is why librarians are experts in information literacy.
  8. Librarians guide you to exactly what you need. Google is an impressive search engine, but its results can be overwhelming, and many people do not know to filter them by content type (such as .pdf) or website source (such as .gov). Google offers many search tips, which are useful but generic. A conversation with a librarian can clarify exactly what you are looking for and figure out the best way to use Google—or many other resources—to find it.
  9. Librarians do not track your reading or search history to sell you things. Amazon’s book purchase recommendation feature is useful for learning about new books. But this usefulness comes at the expense of your privacy because your reading data is valuable business intelligence for Amazon. The same is true for your web searching history, which is why you often see ads for a product for weeks after searching for it just once. Librarians value and protect your privacy.
  10. Librarians do not censor. One core value of librarianship, as exemplified by the work of ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation, is thwarting censorship and allowing the free and full exchange of ideas. The internet is a powerful tool for information sharing, but it takes human advocates to stand for information freedom.

Libraries continue to provide benefits that are both tangible—such as community spaces and human interaction—and harder to quantify—access, privacy, intellectual freedom. The internet is an indispensable and irreplaceable tool for modern living. But it is not a library and will not replace the work of librarians.

Happy New Year from the Moline Public Library!

Image result for happy new year

Fingers crossed that 2018 will be a good one!

Let’s all resolve to read more, watch more and learn more this year. Stopping by the library would be a good place to start… starting tomorrow, when we are actually open.