Tech Expands Horizons

New equipment comes to Valemount’s library.

2 minute read

New equipment comes to Valemount’s library

The community of Valemount has incredible assets, including breathtaking scenery and vast outdoor opportunities— but it wasn’t until recently that it gained a rollercoaster, an old-fashioned saloon and a voyage in space.

Virtual reality ones, that is.

People can now borrow virtual reality equipment from the Valemount Public Library to experience all sorts of adventures. “The VR headsets are very, very popular,” says Hollie Blanchette, Technology/Interlibrary Loan Librarian.

The masks are just one of the many pieces of technology the library has added over the past couple of years, with Trust support. “Our vision statement is ‘Encouraging the spirit of learning and discovery,’” says Blanchette. “That sums up all the possibilities.”

New robotics kits provide hours of entertainment and instruction—all while building confidence, increasing literacy skills as the kids decipher the how-tos, and creating bonding moments between the children and their older helpers. Younger kids can enjoy LeapFrog tablets, which are packed with “different fun games, where they’re learning but they don’t know that they’re learning. That’s the trick!”

Adults can access a fully equipped meeting room, handy for individuals and groups like non-profits. And creative folks can design their own videos and movies with equipment like a video camera, a green screen and the essential accessories and software. “Anything they can think of, they can do.”

Even though a library’s traditional domain is books, Blanchette says that libraries need to keep growing. “We need to be able to offer all our community members everything that’s possible—and as the world evolves, technology is huge.”

Several years ago, the Trust introduced support to help communities and non-profit organizations increase the quality and availability of technology, which also affects overall community well-being.

Small and rural communities are working to give residents more opportunities to join and thrive in the digital world, whether it’s for amusement, school, work or connecting with others.

Valemount’s library appreciates the aid. “It’s wonderful to know we are heard when we say, ‘Hey, we could really use some help with X, Y or Z.’”

In the end, it’s users’ reactions that make it worthwhile. Without realizing he was learning scientific concepts, one boy put together the library’s new Star Wars droid robot. When he discovered he could successfully make it move, the boy was ecstatic. Blanchette recounts the parent’s words: “It was like Christmas, the father said.”

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