In his latest podcast, Infopeople’s book guy Michael Cart reports on the 26th Annual Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Writing Contest (It’s a dirty job, he says, but someone’s got to do it!). And then, to cleanse your reader’s palate, he reports on some of his favorite good writing, Ray Bradbury’s classic novel of summer and boyhood, Dandelion Wine.
For all of you Bradbury fans out there, Alliance Library System, a pioneer in the use of virtual worlds to promote librarianship and reading, will unveil a unique “walk-in” book during the grand opening of their newest Second Life project, Bradburyville. The Grand Opening is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 5th from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. SL time, and is part of The Big Read Initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is open to the public. You’ll need to install the Second Life software to see it all.
Bit One: I have been at LMS 2007 for the past couple of days getting lots of exposure to the ins and outs of issues like changing your learning management system, how to deal with vendors, and what to look for in a Learning Content Management System. Today I attended a session on Web 2.0 and Learning Management Systems, and they talked about a very cool new LMS, the first of its kind, actually: Sloodle.com. Sloodle is a mashup of Moodle (an open source LMS) and Second Life. The basic idea: students’ avatars can take online learning courses via Sloodle in Second Life. Read more about it at the SJSU Sloodle wiki. What an awesome idea!
Bit Two: Next week (Apr 15-21) is National Library Week. This year’s theme is Come together @ your library. Check out this page for ways to celebrate and promote your library!
How amazing is this?
For the second year in a row, the American Cancer Society held a Relay For Life in Second Life. They raised more than $40,000 and attracted more than 1,000 participants to walk in the 24 hour walkathon event.
The real-world relay was first held in 1985, and over the years has raised 1.5 billion dollars in the fight against cancer. This year’s virtual Relay For Life track walked through representations of real-world places like Mexico, New York City, Paris, Sweden, and South Africa. Avatars encountered opportunities along the way to have fun while donating money – lighting virtual luminaria, and participating in events such as sky diving off of the Eiffel Tower.
Second Life, created by Linden Lab in San Francisco, is a persistent online world: a 3-D virtual continent where 10% of its 3.7 million account holder citizens log on daily as avatars to socialize, attend classes and events, do business, learn, build and create. Realize your Project Runway dreams, design a Frank Lloyd Wright style building, discover live music from talented independent artists, play a role playing game, or hang out at a neighborhood bar, dancing, drinking virtual beer, and talking to the regulars.
Everything in the space is user created, from the clothing the avatars wear to the landscapes, buildings, and objects. Perks include the ability to fly and teleport (just like apparating in Harry Porter!) and the freedom to be yourself, or someone else entirely.
Imagine if MySpace were 3-D and you could walk around in it to get from user profile to band website. Second Life is social networking software on steriods: social networking software that can be–that IS being– harnessed for library use.
It makes some degree of sense that a simulation modeled after real life, containing venues for employment, entertainment and education, would have a library. A few citizens and groups have created them in the past, but in April 2006, Alliance Library System in IL become the first library organization to plunk down money for virtual land. With a tentative mission to explore the potential of delivering services to (non-traditional) library users who might be in Second Life, ALS hoped to direct users back to the resources of their local libraries. Instead, they have found that the diverse citizenry of Second Life has unique informational and recreational needs, and that librarians are interested in the Second Life platform for professional development.
In the last year, over 200 librarians from all types of libraries around the globe have contributed time, energy, and other resources to creating virtual collections, delivering virtual reference, creating virtual displays, producing virtual programs such as book discussions, lectures and author visits, and much more. Unique partnerships with colleges and universities, museums, library vendors and various organizations have developed, and Alliance’s singular Info Island has blossomed into an Info Archipelago.
Continue reading “Second Life and Libraries: What’s the point?”