May 22, 2022

“Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs) Amongst Collection-Holding Institutions” (New Report From RLUK in Collaboration with IARLA)

From the Publication Announcement:

Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has published a new major research report exploring the current and future developments in the area of Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs) amongst collection-holding institutions.

This report presents the results of a recent survey launched by RLUK, in collaboration with members of the International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA). This work informs an ongoing piece of research being undertaken by RLUK regarding the potential of VRRs as digital research infrastructure and the possibilities and benefits of undertaking a networked approach.

Remote technologies were employed by many collection-holding institutions as an emergency response to the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As academics, researchers, and students were prevented from getting physical access to collections due to the closure of libraries and archives, VRRs and VTSs constituted an alternative way of accessing physical materials digitally, without relying on digitisation.

As our findings revealed, the re-opening of on-site operations has seen many institutions continuing to run VRRs and VTSs alongside physical processes and activities. Institutions are now more aware of the potential of VRRs and VTSs to make collections available to various audience groups as well as facilitate research and learning as bespoke services. Therefore, it is not surprising that more institutions internationally are planning to launch their VRRs and VTSs in the immediate future

The report presents the experiences of 22 institutions internationally which have created, or intend to create, VRR and VTS services. Participants share their experiences around the establishment of their VRR and VTS services, including the various requirements for running them, the engagement with their audiences as well as the challenges that need to be overcome. They also share their plans for future activity and reflect on the collaborative potential of VRRs.

Direct to Full Text Report
39 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.