Do we remove all the walls?: Second Life Librarianship

Posted January 30th 2008 @ 8:25 pm by

I’m giving a paper about Second Life Librarianship for the VALA conference this Tuesday. I’m showing a couple of little movies I’ve made of Info Island and the Australian Libraries Building that I’ll link to when I’ve added sound.

Here’s the details

Tuesday 5 February 2008   1120 – 1150


Kathryn Greenhill, Murdoch University, WA

Do we remove all the walls? Second Life librarianship

Over five hundred librarians worldwide are experimenting with providing library services in the Multi User Virtual Environment (MUVE) called Second Life including a small group of Australian librarians who constructed the Australian Libraries Building. This paper describes the interface and capabilities of a MUVE, the evolution of the Australian Libraries Building and the library objects built and scripted within it. It suggests some professional advantages for librarians who experiment within Second Life and the technical and managerial considerations of setting up a library presence there. It concludes by describing how Second Life library services have evolved as librarians better understood the potential of the MUVE interface.


  1. Bill Sowers
    March 14, 2008 at 04:13

    Sorry for my later repsonse to this…

    I like to mix walls and open spaces in virtual reality. At the Kansas Library we have a large collection of information and resources outside the building set up in a garden-like setting. It works well. My first attempt at this a year ago created more of a garage sale look… something to avoid.

    A the same time I think a building is workable if it is easily accessed by new virtual community members, bright enough inside to see things and with enough space to maneuver one’s avatar comfortably without major camera distortion…. and that’s a lot to ask within some virtual structures.

    Walls can serve as wonderful backings enhancing displays and providing a sense of boundary in a world that often seems borderless and confusing to new residents.

    The “great outdoors” offers an opportunity to set up larger displays and add natural effects such as tornadoes (we have one thundering through the Kansas Library territory a couple times a year), snow, falling autumnal leaves… the possibilities are endless. Resources can be set within flowers and other objects such as animals, stone tablets, etc. One of my favorite resource givers outside are singular stone walls with posters on them sitting among trees and flowers… sort of like a “Stations of the Cross” them but with statistics and links to information on Kansas within them rather than prayers.

    Second Life has helped to remove some of the walls in my mind as to what is possible in serving my community. I still like the walls within that virtual world though. They prop up ideas, ideologies and have even inspired a few Kansans in Second Life to contact me and say, “Wow! You guys have a lot of cool stuff!”

    Bill Sowers / Rocky Vallejo in SL

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