- Metaverse evolution is set to redefine the rules of how libraries operate. As the limitation of technology accessibility reduces, the metaverse can bring in economies of reach and scale for virtual libraries to benefit communities and students.
A library has always been a quiet place to retreat – whether it is to work, study, read and borrow books or nowadays to connect to the internet. Many authors also hold book launches, and host book clubs and similar events in a library.
In the current era where we stand at the cusp of integrating the Web 3 era, what role will libraries play? There has been a massive adoption of education technology in the last few years, and one such innovative technology is the metaverse. The metaverse for education is being praised for its positive impacts on the education sector. Technology has the power to reach even the remotest areas and allow students to access quality education.
The educational metaverse can power a remote yet interactive and immersive metaverse classroom. Learners do not feel disassociated from the learning process and feel as if they are physically attending the class in person.
Libraries have traditionally been valuable sources of support to many students. With the onset of the new economy powered by Web 3 technologies, virtual libraries can become an indispensable asset to help millions of students avail resources to skill and up skill.
Benefits of Virtual Libraries
A virtual library as the term suggests can offer information electronically or digitally. There is no constraint of space or location. Many holdings can be brought together from various other libraries and information sources to make it easily accessible to users.
With technology becoming more integral to our lives and work, going virtual offers many benefits, such as
- Save cost and maintenance of physical spaces
- Enables quick searches
- Users can access library resources from anywhere in the world
- Multiple users can access the same information simultaneously
- Information can be digitized and hence many old works can be preserved
- Reduces manual work for record keeping and maintenance
How Can the Metaverse Benefit a Virtual Library
The metaverse is an Omni-present and persistent 3D immersive, multi-user space. In the educational metaverse, students benefit from a shared sense of presence and real-time engagement with peers. Students enter the metaverse as their digital representatives or avatars and engage in real-time interactions with other avatars or digital objects or learning material. With the metaverse technology, libraries can organize conferences, seminars, lectures, and similar virtual events.
This is why, the metaverse can enhance a user’s visit to virtual libraries through personalization, dynamic interaction, and immersive content.
Use Cases of Virtual Libraries in the Metaverse
Second Life is a famous virtual world that offers immersive learning environments. The virtual libraries segment allows users to walk around as their avatars and browse the space. Second Life librarians also host book clubs, digital exhibitions, and author talks. Second Life boasts an up-to-date virtual library with extensive resources.
This is one of the libraries that aims to narrate stories and bring them to life in an immersive setting.
James Joyce Library in Second Life
The University College Dublin (UCD) James Joyce Library is the first Irish library in Second Life. It is part of the Cybrary City project. This virtual library offers various innovative services, like virtual PC, comment boxes, user surveys, e-books, presentations, and visitor counters.
Lingang Digital Technology Library
The Lingang Digital Technology Library is a Shanghai-based library. Its mission is to offer a seamless blending of the real and virtual worlds and an immersive reading experience to users.
Role of Librarians in Virtual Libraries
The librarian is not only responsible for the collection and upkeep of the library but also becomes a means to offer access to and disseminate information to users as per their requirements. It has expanded further to encompass the new responsibilities brought forth due to technology. Librarians will also need to upskill to have the desired technological competencies to man a virtual library.
The new roles of librarians will include
- Maintain the database for the virtual library resources or library simulations
- Offer to interlink services or access to a range of materials electronically
- According to users, they access rights through contracts and licenses.
- Organizing virtual seminars and workshops. They can also leverage the benefit of a metaverse classroom to conduct these
- New ways to engage users through storytelling, book reading, or historical virtual tours
Harnessing the metaverse for education is beneficial for the entire educational community. It can open up infinite possibilities and make education more accessible and equitable. Immersive and interactive virtual libraries can help the cause and attract new patrons who are more familiar with the technology.
Edverse is a leading educational metaverse developer offering various innovative solutions through metaverse development.For more information on the current state of education and how the metaverse is transforming education.