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Libraries and universities are discovering ways that social networking and virtual environments can extend the reach of librarianship. Second Life and Twitter are two virtual tools that can help libraries build global and local networks. They enable information seekers to discover, disseminate, and contribute information in interesting and novel ways. Second Life is a virtual world in which librarians can interact with a global audience while transcending physical boundaries. Several institutions have established virtual libraries in Second Life; for example, we worked with the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science to build a virtual Second Life library where writers from our International Writing Program could share their work via live virtual readings. Twitter is a microblogging tool that librarians can use to strengthen their professional networks and discover valuable local information in real-time. We recently implemented Twitter in the classroom to demonstrate how a group of people can use Twitter to share and discuss information about an event as it is unfolding.
Our presentation addresses the main features and concepts of both Second Life and Twitter. For Second Life, participants will learn how to create an avatar and learn about the virtual library community within Second Life. For Twitter, participants will learn how to make professional contacts, tweet effectively, and use specific search strategies to find relevant local information. Whether your library is trying to reach a global or a local audience, Second Life and Twitter offer innovative possibilities for reaching your patrons and marketing your library.