Although games still make up the most popular virtual-reality titles, there’s no shortage of educational VR content—experiences that can take you to the top of Mount Everest, that can show you what it’s like to dive into the sea, that can show you the travails of anti-poaching forces, and so on. In short, virtual reality can be a tool that can take you directly to places you’ve never been and immerse you there, helping you learn things in a way that you never could before.
That’s the theory behind a pilot program at Facebook-owned Oculus, which today said it is donating 100 of its high-end Rift VR systems, along with the computers to run them, to 90 libraries scattered around California. “Books, like VR, open the door to new possibilities and let us experience worlds that would otherwise be beyond reach,” Oculus wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re excited to bring the two together through a new partnership with the California State Library…letting even more people step inside VR and see themselves as part of the revolution.” All told, the Rifts are going to locations in about half of the state’s 184 library jurisdictions, with the potential that the program will expand further around the state. If you’re in California, you can find the nearest library with a Rift here.