Had a very informative conversation with Emerald Dumont, an Australian in-world librarian. Emerald has been involved in the establishment of an Australian Library service in SL.
Established on Cybrary City in November 2006 it is being co-ordinated by Emerald, with another 14 Australian library folk joining in.
Emerald cites networking, fun, playfulness, a rapid increase in IT skills and a chance to learn a new interface as some reasons why she is there.
“There are over 900 librarians setting up services on the 7 islands around Info Island”, she said.
“Together we are grappling with customer service issues like whether doors discourage visitors – we are experimenting with removing them totally from our buidings. We are creating links to library resources outside second life, have RSS feeds and search engines available within our libraries, are holding author talks, staffing reference desks, creating displays and offering our libraries as community meeting places. We have even had historical figures, like Henry VIII, talk about their lives”.
Emerald would like to hear from Australians in Second Life about what they want from the library. “As well as providing information, I’d like to see it used as a gathering place for Australians who didn’t want to hang out in pubs. The top floor could be used as a community meeting room, as happens in real life libraries”.
Kathryn Greenhill, the real life librarian behind Emerald Dumont, is giving a talk about library services in Second Life at the National Library as part of its “Digital Culture” series. It’s titled “Flying Librarians of Oz: What’s all the fuss about Second Life and what’s it got to do with libraries?”.
Australian Libraries Building
Flying Librarians of Oz talk: 14th February 12:30pm, National Library Lecture Theatre, Canberra
More about the Australian Libraries Building: virtual.librariesinteract.info
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Students tend to use Google or Wikipedia as their first port of call in researching for information these days. Emerald’s library service could change this as more and more library and librarian services find themselves developing an SL service.
In fact, the idea of “Ask a Librarian” could be back in vogue with quality SL libraries like Australian Libraries Building and librarians such as Emerald being available to answer your query.