Miami Proud: Homestead Opens World’s First “Cybrarium”
May 1, 2021
Welcome to a high-tech community space where you can check out a lot more than books and you don’t have to whisper. Every aspect of the Cybrarium was designed to innovate and impress.
Rino Landa is the new library’s director. He showed CBS4 all the features, starting with a laptop dispenser.
“We have 30 laptops that the public can check out. It is as simple as pressing a button and scanning your card. This really is the future of what we want to offer the public. It makes it much easier to pick their spot, have coffee, and check their email,” Landa explained.
This state-of-the-art, and first-ever, Cybrarium opened in March and is free to all residents of the City of Homestead. The word is out.
“We get very busy with schools letting out, parents coming in, after school programs,” Landa said. “I’ve had several impromptu field trips that weren’t planned from local organizations and people are coming in during the afternoon to have fun.”
We found two brothers having fun in the virtual reality cube, literally. One was playing a Spiderman game and the other was immersed in a Star Wars game. The older brother, 14-year-old Augustino said it felt very real.
“The VR Cube is our jewel attraction, a main attraction for a lot of people. You’re not going to find a VR cube in any other library and that’s what really makes us special,” said Landa.
Beyond the superheroes and Star Wars, the environmental and cultural VR programming opportunities are endless. You can even explore space.
“In one program you can go to Mars, you can travel warp speed through galaxies,” said Landa.
Next to the vibrant children’s literature section is a theater for storytelling. Future plans include hosting community cultural experiences here too. On the second floor, there are rooms for meetings that the public can use and there’s the Steampunk Lounge with inspiring visuals decorating the adult book section.
“We want those someone that visits the Cybrarium to say ‘Wow, I really feel immersed in both the technology and fantasy that is inherent in literature and learning’,” Landa explained.
There are comfy cubbies to hang out in and even a place to reserve the use of a 3D printer or sewing machine. Like all libraries, of course, there are also DVDs to borrow but one thing is not common.
“I like to encourage a little bit of noise here, like the children laughing in the VR. We don’t shush around here,” said Landa.
The Cybrarium has been years in the works and is part of the overall redevelopment of the downtown area in Homestead that is generating excitement.
“This is a community that doesn’t really see this kind of investment very often, so having a very unique space with services really tailored to the public, it’s a means of expanding the horizons of what’s possible. That’s what I think is really exciting about what we are doing in the Cybrarium,” said Landa.
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