Virtual Library – Post #1

Two weekends ago I took the plunge and devoted 12 hours to nose-to-the-grindstone work about Second Life.

Here I am, in my “I Read Banned Books” T-shirt from ALA Island:

I have a long history with multi-user (or “-player”) virtual environments that goes back to the first time I heard about them during a presentation I went to in Library School circa 1999.  Back then they were referred to as MUDs (multi-user dungeon) and were primarily used for role-playing games, or “MOOs” (multi-object orientation).   The presentation I went to discussed the potential for using them in education.  I love distance learning, and I got excited.  But I didn’t understand enough about programming to do anything about it so, I’ve been carrying around a folder named “MOO” for years, untilI finally saw David Warlick demonstrate Second Life at a tech conference.  At last, a format I could (sort of) understand!

My 12 hours this weekend were not spent entirely “in-world” – logged on to the simulations – but also in watching a bunch of video tutorials, reading Peggy Sheehey’s blog about how she set up a private SL space at her school (using the Teen Grid – SL keeps its adult and teen user accounts separate), and downloading and playing with “Blender,” a 3-D generating software that I know so little about I’m not sure if that’s an adequate description.  I became a premium member and selected a “house” to practice building objects, although it is not necessary to do either to be in Second Life.

My idea is to basically expand our Library to include summer hours, and possibly after-school hours, for students to take advantage of library programs when the physical library is not open.  It has been my desire to create a virtual space for students to work and relax in, that would be an extension of the physical space.  I love this idea because I think it shows people that we are more than just checking out physical resources, that we do in fact go on and on after the word day ends.  Some ideas I’ve had for use of the virtual space:

  • Virtual book clubs where students could meet in real time to chat about books.
  • Storytelling pods, where the story could be prerecorded along with visual effects that students could listen to and interact with.
  • Links to ebooks, including public library resources, that students could access with their library cards.
  • Student-created exhibits, booktalks and other creations.

I’ll keep on blogging about it …

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About Paula Montrie

I am a Middle School Librarian at Friends School of Baltimore. I have been a librarian for 11 years, serving 6 years with the Howard County Public School System before arriving at my current school. I teach two classes: SpeechCraft (a combination of information literacy, public speaking and theater), and Media Literacy at the middle school level. I also collaboratively co-teach with a number of teachers at the school, including Music, Geography, and U.S. History. I love it! My professional interests are: information literacy, multiple intelligences and learning styles, teaching through movement, curriculum-writing, technology integration, and bridging the gap between digital natives and digital immigrants. My personal interests are: dancing, singing, knitting, sewing, art, living history, writing and of course - reading!
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One Response to Virtual Library – Post #1

  1. ktenkely says:

    Second Life has never really appealed to me until right now reading your blog. I love the idea of extending office hours and library usability into the summer using Second Life. I can’t wait to hear where this takes you and join you on the journey. Maybe I will get brave enough to dip my toes in the Second Life water.

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