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Learning ‘comes to life’ at LiveWire-run libraries thanks to new augmented reality books

From stegosauruses to sharks, the solar system to sabre tooth tigers – books at Warrington’s libraries are ‘coming to life’ courtesy of a selection of the latest augmented reality titles that are now in stock.

Most people have heard of virtual reality which uses technology to replace the real world with a simulated environment. 

Less well known is augmented reality, which is designed to take an environment in the real world and alter a person’s perception of it. 

Essentially it means customers, via a smart phone or tablet screen, can see 3D interactive elements – such as images, sounds, videos, maps, games and animation – come out of the pages of the book, and ‘into’ the room.

To see the books in action, readers need to have downloaded the free augmented reality app onto a smart phone or tablet. The app then scans a visual trigger on the page and uses the device’s camera lens to integrate objects and information into the reader’s real world – albeit via the screen.

Augmented reality books combine the best aspects of both digital and print, add depth and richness to the reading experience, and make reading both educational and interactive.

LiveWire has run a number of recent public workshops at its libraries to introduce library users to the augmented reality technology and books – that feature topics including dinosaurs, extinct animals, ocean predators – with space and science-focused titles coming soon.

LiveWire’s augmented reality ‘guru’ is LiveWire’s Julia Hoffman, Lead LiveWire Advisor, who has been overseeing the workshops.

Julia said: “Augmented reality books – which have only been published within the past few years, allow the reader’s device to act as an interactive portal to new worlds, experiences and information.

“For both fiction and non-fictional books, it is a way to bring printed material into the digital age to interact, relate to and engage with young readers who have grown up with screens and digital content. So the books are also a new way for libraries to interact with 21st Century audiences, as well as the readers of tomorrow.

“Our workshops have been really well received with both adults and children proving to be really curious about the books. Most of them seemed really keen to begin borrowing the books, to explore the augmented reality world further at home.”

LiveWire’s library staff are currently being trained in the augmented reality books, with some already out to loan to the public, with the rest being put on the shelves in time for the summer holidays.

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