NAU’s Cline Library awarded prestigious grant to fund extended reality programming

A woman works in the MakerLab at Cline Library.

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, awarded a $70,221 grant to Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library. The grant project, Extended Reality Creation for Arizona Educators, will expand the library’s extended reality programming by creating a circulating pool of extended reality equipment while simultaneously providing training, consultations and a new content creation studio.

“I am grateful to the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records for funding the development of this creative program,” said Cynthia Childrey, dean and university librarian at NAU. “The State Library has been a consistent partner to Cline Library as we have grown our technology programs. They also have awarded funding to help us establish the library’s MakerLab and its programming; it’s one of the few large-scale academic library 3D printing and making facilities that is also open to the community.  They make the dreams of our talented and creative librarians come true in ways that benefit the university, as well as the surrounding Arizona communities.”

Principal investigators (PIs) Chris Holthe, Cline Library experiential learning librarian, and Andrew See, head of user services and experience, developed the proposal in partnership with Shadow Armfield, chair of the Department of Educational Specialties in the College of Education at NAU. This extended reality program facilitates early access to these new technologies for education students to develop the knowledge and workforce skills necessary to create and embed immersive technologies in the K-12 classroom. Moreover, regional K-12 educators will benefit from the same access to these extended reality resources in order to further promote the adoption of immersive learning experiences in their classroom. The PIs anticipate tremendous interest in this project beyond K-12 educators and expect to facilitate use of the resources with other faculty and courses at NAU.

In 2020, the Arizona State Library received about $3.5 million under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Arizona libraries received $850,000 awarded on a competitive basis. The remaining funds are used to support statewide services, including family literacy and reading programs, electronic databases, digital government initiatives, continuing education classes and other programs.

“These subgrants allow libraries to go above and beyond in their communities,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said. “These projects will increase access to information and education for Arizonans. They support institutional improvements and help form inclusive communities.”

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Kathleen Schmand | Cline Library