Taste of virtual world at library

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Josiah Junior Johnny Rehu was the first user to take the virtual world experience at Ashburton Public Library last week.

The public is invited to take a trip into a virtual world through a new attraction and initiative at Ashburton Public Library.

The library has purchased an Oculus Quest 2 base unit and dozens of apps that will enable users to step into different worlds and locations to enjoy the virtual reality experience.

With a headset, and with two touch controllers in hand, users can kayak and traverse a glacier in the Antarctic, enjoy a fast-paced light sabre game, visit the International Space Station and take a space walk, and turn their hand to 3D art and drawing.

There are also options to play space invaders, enjoy a sports scramble and experience ultimate frisbee in zero gravity. All of the virtual world action is displayed on a big screen in a corner at the library.

Library manager Jill Watson said staff had received training to operate the equipment and would set up apps and explain how things worked.

Ms Watson said sessions had started last week and she expected them to grow in popularity.

The world of virtual reality had an educational aspect to it and also fun and competitive elements.

The new attraction was expected to bring more teens into the library and was strictly available to those over the age of 13.

Ms Watson said the entertainment and experience library in Ashburton would grow over the coming months.

The virtual reality experience was an attraction in a number of libraries in Canterbury and around the country, she said.

The library will run virtual reality sessions between 3.30pm and 5.30pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10am until noon on Thursdays and from 1.30pm until 3.30pm on Sundays.