New virtual reality system available to library patrons

The Destin Log
Visual and digital lovers will get lost in an alternative 3-D virtual world with the new Oculus Rift virtual reality system at the Destin Library. [ABRAHAM GALVAN/THE LOG]

The Destin Library is always finding ways to help educate and inform the community with the latest technology.

In March, the library received a brand new Oculus Rift virtual reality system. The system has a selection of educational programs such as ocean exploration, math problems, biology and space exploration.

The Oculus Rift system involves a headset that is placed over the eyes and a controller for each hand.

“We want school and home-schooled students to use it as an educational supplement,” said Megan Fontaine, the library’s administrative assistant. “We want kids to develop their technological literacy along with their language literacy.”

A $500 grant from the Friends Guild of the Destin Library and Panhandle Library Access Network helped purchase the Oculus Rift, which retails on the company website ( for $598.

Fontaine said when the school year begins, they plan to reach out to Destin schools and conduct an on-site virtual field trip for students.

“We want to do meet-and-great orientations with schools, so teachers can get used to the applications and it will be a free service as part of the library,” she said.

The system will be available at the library for any patron with a library card.

“Businesses can also use the virtual reality system for team-building workshops,” Fontaine said. “Just call us and say you want to reserve the Oculus Rift and we will teach you how to use the controllers and after that, you are good to go.”

Users can even take it further with a game development software called Unity.

“People can design their own games and play them on the Oculus,” Fontaine said.

The library’s Reference and Youth Services Librarian, Will Rogers, said with a dedicated computer lab, the library is offering other means in educating the community and obtaining information.

“Everyone should try it (the Oculus Rift) out. ... It will expand their minds,” he said. “Come experience the new reality with this 3-D virtual world.”

 For more information or to reserve the Oculus Rift, call the library at 850-837-8572.