St. Louis Center residents enjoying a simulated 3D environment during a visit from Chelsea District Library personnel

R. David Lankes, a renowned professor in library sciences, was quoted saying “Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities.” Chelsea District Library is striving to make its services available to all of the community. This has taken their focus to new heights and has brought on the introduction of mobile services. These services include their mobile programming and bookmobile. 

Since the late 2010’s Chelsea Library has been a mainstay for the residents of St. Louis Center, bringing their programs and books right to the doorway of the Center. The Center’s residents have enjoyed sharing many books and crafts with the library staff throughout the years. Their favorite activity that the library has shared is Virtual Reality. This exciting adventure started around 2018. After a short break through the pandemic, it is back, and the residents are loving it. 

A group of residents playing virtual reality games.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a simulated 3D environment that enables users to explore and interact with a virtual surrounding. The Chelsea Library comes regularly to spend time with the residents and provides the VR technology. The residents really got a love the immersive nature of the experience.

In addition to video gaming, VR allows the residents to travel the world to see famous works of art, museums, and even experience scuba diving and other activities in a safe and accessible manner. The nature of VR can be overwhelming to some residents, and some residents prefer to watch on the television as their peers wear the equipment and have the more immersive experience. The goal is always to let residents engage at the level that they are comfortable. Sometimes it is helpful to observe for a visit before trying. For others, they want to dive right in. 

Chelsea District Library Mobile Unit Why Mobile CDL Is Important

Mobile CDL has been a wonderful addition to library services. They have met residents previously uncomfortable using the library and connected them to a variety of materials and services -including internet access for their kids’ schoolwork. It allows them to issue new cards and renew cards in remote locations, and people really enjoy going on board and browsing the collection. It provides a broader selection of materials to schools, camps, and our senior living communities than previously available with home delivery. Finally, it brings back the joy of browsing the shelves for people who are no longer able to make it to the library.

What is Next?

People of all abilities are always welcome to visit the library! Librarians and other library staff are available to help them find books and other resources that may appeal to them. For groups, trips can be planned in advance to ensure that plenty of staff are available to help. This includes trips to see their annual exhibits each fall. They offer a variety of concerts, art exhibits, and programs at the library and strive to ensure that the environment is inclusive without barriers like dress code, ticket charges, and expectations of “concert hall behavior.” Their staff is always willing to work with the community to make accommodations to ensure their sensory needs are met.

Chelsea District Library is partnering with Eli Zemper of Curiouser Clay to display the ceramic wind chimes that she is working on with the St. Louis Center residents. A reception will be held on May 5th from 2-4 PM at the Chelsea Library in the reading garden and will showcase the clay masterpieces made by the Center’s residents.

Read more about the partnership between Curiouser Clay and St. Louis Center Here.

Are you interested to learn how you can help the Day Program make the lives of the residents more enriching? Become a monthly Sustainer …. 

Become a Sustainer