Virtual reality fiction is being offered at the Maple Ridge Public Library for kids aged 10 and up.

Virtual reality experience for teens and tweens at library

Maple Ridge one of three locations with Alice VR fiction

Teens and tweens will soon experience interactive virtual reality fiction at their library.

Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) is launching Inanimate Alice: Perpetual Nomads at three library locations in Delta, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford, starting in November. This program uses the HTC Vive VR system to immerse participants in the world of Alice Field, a fictional teenage girl with a globetrotting family and an interest in video game design.

This new initiative builds on the success of FVRL’s virtual reality programs, which have been popular with young people throughout the Fraser Valley. Inanimate Alice: Perpetual Nomads takes library VR a step further by immersing participants in a world where they play a fictional character and solve problems to move the story forward.

Perpetual Nomads is the most recent installment in the Inanimate Alice “digital novel” and the first to be offered in virtual reality. This award-winning series – a co-production of Nanaimo’s Bradfield Narrative Design and Australia’s Mez Breeze Design – uses a combination of text, sound, imagery and gaming elements to engage viewers. The series is laced with themes that resonate with today’s youth, such as striving to stay positive in the face of global upheaval and geographic displacement. In Perpetual Nomads, Alice finds herself alone in the middle of the desert, stuck on a broken down bus. Her phone battery is quickly dying. What’s Alice to do?

FVRL’s new program is the result of a unique partnership between the library and Bradfield Narrative Design. While Inanimate Alice has been used as a classroom teaching tool in Canada, Australia and the United States, this is the first time it will be offered in a library setting.

“FVRL has developed a new program model that will allow libraries to replicate the Inanimate Alice experience in other locations,” FVRL director of customer experience Heather Scoular explains. “Inanimate Alice: Perpetual Nomads is an innovative learning tool that helps teens explore the exciting world of digital fiction and supports STEAM learning in our communities.”

Over the past two years, FVRL has promoted STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) through its Playground collection. The FVRL Playground offers a variety of lending items and in-library experiences, including virtual reality, telescopes, robots and ukuleles.

Inanimate Alice: Perpetual Nomads is for tweens and teens, ages 10 and up. Each session is approximately 45 minutes and can accommodate groups of up to six participants. Please register by phone or in person at the Maple Ridge Public Library for Friday, Nov. 9.

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