Thursday, August 14, 2008

Report on ACRL SL "Starting an Academic Library in Second Life" Discussion

17 avatars attended this 1st discussion on the ACRL Second Life site on the ALA Island. There were 4 presenters, including one person who's a rural public library director:

-Puglet Dancer/Barbara Galick, Executive Director of the Cullom-Davis Library at
Bradley University and President of the Board of Directors of the Alliance Library
System (ALS).
-Alexandria Knight/Esther Grassian (me), Information Literacy Librarian, UCLA
College Library
-50 Winx/Rhonda Super, UCLA Library
-Sonja Morgwain/Sonja Plummer-Morgan, a public library director for a rural public
library in Northern Maine and serves as the VP/President Elect of the Maine Library
Association, board member for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, and on the
ALA’s University Press Committee.

Here are a few quotes from the presenters--I have a full transcript if anyone wants one--just email me

"I was the most unlikely person, I thought, to be entering a virtual world—I didn’t know what an avatar was, was not a gamer, and, in fact, was notorious for being totally uncoordinated in video games. But I did it! And the rest is slistory! LOL... Being the Director has its advantages at times. I presented the concept to my library faculty in a faculty meeting and said I wanted us to explore this 3-D MUVE—to see if it had any value for academic libraries and for higher education in general... In May 2007, the task force submitted a proposal for an innovative teaching award to develop an island for Bradley University and to explore how it could be used on campus...We received the award and bought Info Island 2 when it became available, renamed the island and built our campus. We have had a homecoming celebration and grand opening events, and regularly have exhibits of student work.

7 Tips for Starting an Academic Library in Second Life (details available upon request):
TIP 1: Seek out and be open to opportunities and possibilities
TIP 2: Get approval for a tentative site
TIP 3: Propose a service plan
TIP 4: Start small
TIP 5: Be brave and be willing to try, fail, and learn from failure
TIP 6: Ask for help
TIP 7: Share what you learn and offer to help others

50 Winx:
"I have to concur with Alexandria, especially on a few points:
[17:23] 50 Winx: • Start small.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
• Second Life is a collaborative endeavor...

I am working on a library science degree from San Jose State University, which has built a campus in Second Life... When Alexandria gave a brown bag lunch presentation on Second Life at work, I attended and registered on Second Life shortly thereafter. One month later I broke my ankle, and had to stay fairly immobile for several months. Suddenly, I had LOTS of time to spend on Second Life.

The time I spent on Second Life during my recuperation gave me the opportunity to see its potential as an immersive educational tool and a tool for collaboration. I gained an understanding of the role social networks can play for people with disabilities. It also gave me the opportunity to build my skills so I could train others... I was invited to give a presentation about Second Life to the cataloging department, and I prepared a HTML document with information regarding context, resources, tutorials, and instructions. The document was posted on the cataloging department’s Wiki so people in the department can access the information at their convenience.

Our head serials cataloger wanted to explore using Second Life as a meeting place for catalogers within our consortium. This would provide a means for cutting down on travel time and expenses. She arranged to have librarians from three campuses register onto Second Life. I volunteered to conduct training sessions at noon on Fridays to get everyone up to speed with Second Life basics. Of course we had training sessions in our Second Life Library. After four sessions the group held their first meeting in Second Life.

I coordinated our efforts with Alexandria and we worked toward configuring the Second Life UCLA Library as a meeting place. We are continuing these efforts and are meeting jointly with the cataloger and our IT department to explore setting up Sloodle (the class management system, Moodle adapted for Second Life) as a collaborative tool to use during meetings. We are also looking into ways we can partnership our efforts with other departments on campus."

"After experimenting with SL for a few days and researching this environment and its present uses in various professions, I decided to experiment for my self what Second Life was like. Something said at that conference had a profound impact on me about how librarians should lead technology and not follow along...

I find Second Life Librarians practice that daily and in creative ways and are outstanding leaders naturally...

It as immediately apparent to me that Second Life as a means of mitigating the isolation felt by rural librarians held outstanding potential. Geography is conquered here and, as such, this proved a tool to network with librarians across all types of libraries and cultures. Second Life Librarians were role models from which much could be learned and I wanted to be part of that global team and contribute meaningfully.
For a rural librarian, travel was and is becoming terribly expensive. Second Life provides professional develop opportunities that I’d never be privy to in real life. I meet librarians from all over the world. This is a remarkable embellishment to my ability to provide service to real life patrons.

I have grown much in the few months that I have been here... the relationships, both professional and social have enriched my first life, given me a greater appreciation for our profession, and given me models of best practices that I may never had been able to experience first hand.

Since creating my own library in Second Life, my activities in Second Life have expanded to volunteering for Alliance Library Systems as a virtual reference librarian on Info International two nights a week, manage my own virtual library here on Cybrary...

What began as an opportunity to expand professionally has grown into an ability to use my skills and gifts for a user base that once I could only dream of doing. My perspective has changed dramatically for I see Second Life as not only a powerful venue for professional development and networking but a means of showing a user base - students and the like what leadership from a librarian means and how that can benefit their information needs and search for knowledge."

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