County of Marin - News Releases - Virtual Vacations

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2019

Take a Virtual Vacation at South Novato Library

Branch brings the outdoors inside with virtual reality of national parks

Novato, CA – America’s National Parks have been a cherished destination and source of wonder for more than a century. Now, with the power of technology, Marin residents can experience these majestic landscapes from the comfort of the public library.

15-year-old Lucas Luu tries out virtual reality at the South Novato Library.Lucas Luu, a 15-year-old County of Marin student intern, tries out virtual reality at the South Novato Library.
Through August 13, visitors to the South Novato Library can experience the sights and sounds of Yosemite, see the star-filled sky over Joshua Tree National Park, and ride the rapids of the Grand Canyon using virtual reality (VR) technology. The drop-in sessions are every Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m., and youth interns will demonstrate the technology and assist new users.

VR immerses users in a simulated three-dimensional environment. Users wear a headset, such as the Oculus Go, to view the content. Since 2016, the Marin County Free Library (MCFL) has led the effort to bring this new technology to libraries. It does it in partnership with XR Libraries, also based in Novato at the Marinovation Learning Center, which houses the South Novato Library, Marin Makerspace, and nonprofit partner New Media Learning.

“Immersive technologies enable us to learn and experience the world in a whole new way," said Surabhi Konkar, Program Coordinator for Marin-based XR Libraries. “With virtual reality you can travel the world without leaving your community."

“While many residents face economic barriers to travel, ‘Virtual Vacations’ brings the National Parks closer to home,” said senior librarian Amy Sonnie.

MCFL presents the program as part of its ongoing equity initiatives and to complement the “Tales to Trails” Summer Challenge, expanding access to public lands and public libraries.

The South Novato branch is at 931 C Street in the Hamilton area of Novato. Call 415-506-3165 or visit for more information.


Amy Sonnie
Senior Librarian
Marin County Free Library

South Novato Library
931 C Street
Novato, CA 94945
(415) 506-3165
Email: Amy Sonnie
Library website