Saturday, November 1, 2008

The ALA, Libraries and Second Life

The American Library Association Virtual Communities and Libraries Membership Initiative Group (ALA VCL MIG) is pleased to announce its first ALA SLymposium to be held in the virtual world of Second Life(SL) on ALA island on Saturday November 8. There is no charge for the event. I'm posting here to encourage library workers to register and attend.

The recent growth and development by the global public and education community in SL means that our roles as library workers may be evolving. There are information needs in virtual worlds (VWs) that parallel those needs in real life. As an academic librarian, who is active in SL by both supporting faculty from my university who teach in SL as well as volunteering weekly on the Info Island International reference desk, I feel I benefit greatly from my involvement (as do those I serve). Here is a link to the ALA in Virtual Worlds wiki which includes additional links to information.

In future blog posts I'll also be writing on the activities of the ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) in SL Group, of which I am a member.

The ALA island was developed in 2007 and there are events and discussions held regularly. The photo included here is from a recent discussion on ALA Island. Oberon Octagon, ALA Island Manager (the tiger avatar in the closeup photo), talked about ALA Island and what it can do for us. One new project the ALA is working on involves assisting those library workers who are new to SL with orientation needs. Proper SL orientation is important for all newcomers and I was glad to hear this.

For those who may be wondering how committed ALA is to SL, here is info I copied from the ALA Staff in SL Group Charter
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 65,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

Our presence in Second Life marks a commitment to virtual membership by the members of ALA Staff.

This island was made possible through a donation by San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science.

I'm glad to see the ALA is following the virtual worlds movement and willing to support library workers on the cutting edge. Time will tell just how successful SL will be. For now it is by far the most developed VW with the largest presence of library workers. As more library workers become involved in SL, more ALA staff involvement/support will be supplied. Attend the ALA Slymposium if you possibly can and see for yourself what is happening with libraries/library staff and Second Life.

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