Libraries in Virtual Worlds: Purpose & Potential Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies Valerie Hill (V alibrarian Gregg ) & Hyuk-Jin Lee
Introduction <ul><li>This presentation examine s the Alliance Library System’s successful first year in the virtual world of Second Life. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis of the year-end report shows the rapid growth of 50 libraries entering a “new frontier” where virtual services, resources, and exhibits are possible through a new creative medium. Teleport to immersive learning environments such as “The Land of Lincoln” which features the life and times of President Abraham Lincoln. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Valibrarian Gregg, a Second Life librarian (and real life librarian) shares her journey learning in a virtual world to help understand the purpose and potential for public libraries. </li></ul>
Research Purpose <ul><li>Virtual worlds seem to be the latest trend, with places for people of all ages. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How could this new mode of learning and communicating benefit the field of librarianship, particularly in public libraries? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very little research has yet been done on virtual world libraries, but this project explores potential for providing resources virtually through a creative immersive medium. </li></ul></ul>
SL library project experience <ul><li>S ix months for exploring the library projects evolving in Second Life, working in collaboration with the Alliance Library System (also know as Alliance Information Archipelago.) </li></ul><ul><li>First hand experience as a volunteer reference librarian at the Info International Island Reference Desk provided the presenter with understanding of virtual librarianship, virtual world skills, and understanding of potential for information storage and delivery through the medium. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistics from the reference desk’s first year show the growth of patron visitors and volunteer staff. </li></ul></ul>
Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 Project ( also known as Alliance Information Archipelago ) <ul><li>What are libraries & librarians doing in virtual worlds such as Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the goal for the project? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the year-end evaluation present evidence of success? </li></ul>Alliance Library System opened a MUVE (multi-user virtual environment) library presence in April 2006. Librarians from around the globe volunteered to contribute. The American Library Association has virtual land nearby and numerous public libraries have constructed virtual buildings.
Alliance Second Life Library Project The first year: April 2006 – April 2007 <ul><li>Initiated and managed by Alliance Library System in Illinois </li></ul><ul><li>Rapidly developed from nothing to 20 islands in the first year </li></ul>
Reference Desk Statistics for Second Life Info International Island Patrons and volunteers have steadily increased with a peak during summer.
Alliance Second Life Library Project Mission Statement <ul><li>Explore the issues of providing library services in a virtual world </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate services currently offered by real world libraries in the light of features offered in virtual reality environments and the information needs of VR residents </li></ul><ul><li>Examine how libraries will remain relevant when more business and education activities take place virtually </li></ul><ul><li>Promote the real library and online services to residents of Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>Learn what kinds of library services are desired in virtual space </li></ul>
Major Accomplishments <ul><li>Volunteer Explosion from 0-500 from all over the world </li></ul><ul><li>Land Development from 0-20 islands </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibits and Events by individuals and collaborative groups </li></ul><ul><li>Reference Service provides live help to avatars </li></ul><ul><li>Government & Management – librarians volunteer to oversee scheduling & managing the islands, events, resources, and programs in teams </li></ul>
Were the goals of the Alliance Project met? <ul><li>Data collected in-world shows that by year end, the average number of avatars visiting the Alliance Information Archipelago was 5,000 daily. </li></ul><ul><li>Goals for volunteers and patrons exceeded expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Public libraries provide links to physical resources and build a virtual presence </li></ul>
What if Second Life disappears at some point? According to the year-end report, most librarians feel that the “experiential and theoretical knowledge gained during this first collective exploration of virtual worlds would be a sufficiently valuable thing to take away to make the project a worthwhile effort.”
“ Keep it real!” <ul><li>Appreciate the physical world </li></ul><ul><li>Limit time spent in virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid griefers (in-world troublemakers) </li></ul><ul><li>Learn, create, and share </li></ul>
Libraries in Virtual Worlds: Purpose <ul><li>Learning and Literacy for a community </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing and Networking with other communities </li></ul><ul><li>Resources and Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Communication in new medium </li></ul>
Learning and Literacy Literacy has become more than reading and writing, but also utilizing images, text, sound, and other media. Here Valibrarian works with other librarians on an Immersive Learning Environment: The Land of Lincoln, which highlights the life of President Abraham Lincoln.
Sharing and Networking Through networking, these librarians share skills, working together to build desks for a one-room schoolhouse. Public libraries and school libraries work together to build learning environments.
Resources and Creativity Opportunities include concerts and publishing: art, music, poetry and all forms of creative expression! Public libraries in Second Life offer patrons exposure to the world of reading, writing, listening, viewing and multi-media.
Communication in New Medium Meeting other avatars in virtual places makes working, learning, and socializing a pleasant experience. Here Valibrarian meets with her real life family, although separated by 2,000 miles in RL (real life).
Libraries in Virtual Worlds: The Potential Historical Places and Events can be simulated. Anything you can imagine can be built in Second Life. Renaissance Island has buildings from Shakespeare’s time period, complete with a replica of the Globe Theatre. Bring these places to life at the public library!
Wise use of resources Second Life is built on a grid which is housed on servers. Designing and building, without expensive materials, opens the potential for resources to new possibilities.
Patron Services Traditional services are provided in a non-traditional setting at the virtual reference desk. Public librarians, academic librarians, and special librarians work together as volunteers. Real life reference and virtual reference questions are answered.
Types of Questions Asked Second Life directions Real Life directions Second Life reference Real Life reference
Cultural Displays and Exhibits A public library can link to a variety of exhibits or create an exhibit of local artwork and cultural heritage.
Alliance Information Archipelago Librarians (public, academic, medical, school, and special) working in collaboration from around the globe gather here for discussion.
Findings so far <ul><li>This study provides evidence that virtual worlds are currently growing with thousands of individuals creating avatars and collaborating online. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning from other librarians and educators can greatly benefit librarians who are interested in a virtual world presence. Joining a collaborative network brings libraries together and provides opportunities for sharing resources beyond our expectations. </li></ul>
Bibliography Bell, Lori with Kitty Pope and Tom Peters. (2007) Get a [Second] life! Computers in Libraries , 27(1), 10-15. Bell, Lori. (2007) A Report on the First Year of Operation of the Alliance Library 2.0 Second Life Library Project also known as Alliance Archipelago Island. Balkin, Jack M. and Beth Simone Noveck. (2006) The State of Play. New York: University Press. Baudrillard, Jean. translated by Sheila Faria Glaser . (1994) Simulacra and Simulation . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Gee, James Paul. (2003) What Video Games have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan,. Godfrey, Krista and Donna Dinberg. (2007) Brave New World or 500 Librarians Can’t be Wrong! Feliciter. (4), 214-215. Canada Library Association. Stephenson, Neal. (1992) Snow Crash . New York: Doubleday. Turkle, Sherry. (1995) Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster.