Pete Schreiner | Movers & Shakers 2019 – Digital Developers

When Pete Schreiner accepted a two-year fellowship at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in 2016, his initial assignment involved researching virtual reality (VR) and other emerging visualization technologies and reporting on the equipment and expertise that would be needed to support them at NCSU libraries.

Pete Schreiner

CURRENT POSITION

Research Librarian for Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

DEGREE

MLIS, Emporia State University, KS, 2015

FOLLOW

@peaceshrine; @ncstate_design_library (Instagram); tourvandetritus.com

Photo by Amy Lynn Drever

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Virtual Pioneer

When Pete Schreiner accepted a two-year fellowship at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in 2016, his initial assignment involved researching virtual reality (VR) and other emerging visualization technologies and reporting on the equipment and expertise that would be needed to support them at NCSU libraries.

He exceeded that remit. “From the ground up—and quickly!—Pete has built a nationally recognized VR program,” says David Woodbury, who heads NCSU Libraries’ Learning Spaces and Services department. “He developed the VR Studio staffing model, room layouts, management work flows, and documentation and coordinated with many departments and systems to smoothly integrate VR services.”

Schreiner has launched dedicated VR spaces at two NCSU libraries and introduced into NCSU’s technology lending service VR devices, including Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Rift headsets. He has developed and run workshops ranging from introductory courses to designing for VR using Mozilla A-Frame. And he regularly conducts events, such as “Global Trekking: Experience the World in Virtual Reality,” in which students give VR-assisted tours of their study-abroad experiences.

“VR has so much potential for so many disciplines,” says Schreiner, describing “hands-on” training in fields as varied as welding and surgery, visiting artifacts in distant museums, putting historical events in first-person context, or exploring molecular models of chemicals.

Schreiner says he approached the rollout of VR at NCSU with a threefold plan: find ways to introduce students and faculty to the technology firsthand, integrate off-the-shelf software—such as Google Earth VR—into existing courses and scholarly work, and help users create original VR content for instruction, research, and other projects.

As one of the earliest adopters of consumer VR in academic settings, NCSU has become a model for other institutions. Schreiner has shared advice from NCSU’s success story at conferences nationwide.

Appointed research librarian for design last fall, Schreiner now brings his vision to NCSU’s Harrye B. Lyons Design Library, in part setting up new VR workstations with art- and design-specific creation tools and features such as virtual gallery tours.

“I really have to credit [NCSU] for being willing and excited to push the limits of what we do [as librarians],” Schreiner says, describing the VR programs as “a work in progress.”

 

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