Libraries are already wonderful places today, and I contend that they’re going to be at least as awesome in 2027 (when Virtual Grunt is set). You can walk into a library and find literally thousands of worlds you can teleport into in the form of books, movies, music, and more.
These days, so much of what we’re looking for is available not as words printed on paper, but as ones and zeroes sent across a wire (or through the air). Libraries have stepped up to the challenges of this world and make all of these forms of information available.
I have had the good fortune to visit the Ann Arbor District Library, which is one of the top libraries in the U.S. In addition to computers you can use, they have an amazing Secret Lab where people craft a huge variety of projects, and a bunch of tools you can check out. I wouldn’t recommend the spinning wheel for Sleeping Beauty, though.
What will make libraries even cooler by 2027? Virtual reality. It’s one of those things that has been just over the horizon for a while now. One of these days, it will make it over the horizon and show up at many people’s doorsteps. When it does, libraries will be there to make sure that everyone has access not just to the equipment but to many of the worlds as well.
I don’t know if 2027 VR will have the sophistication that I described in The Gamerunners, but I sure hope so and I look forward to giving it a spin at the Ann Arbor District Library.