Do libraries exist in a virtual world? They do in a 3D world called Second Life. What is Second Life? It is a place to connect with others, to shop, to work, love, and explore all in a 3D virtual world. The user creates an avatar, in their own image or different. The user gets to decide. So how does this relate to libraries you ask? Many academic institutions now offer virtual classrooms which allow online collaboration or distance learning. Libraries are starting to offer the same type of services for students who prefer the 3D experience to the real world.
Attached I have incorporated links to videos on what Second Life is as well as a real academic library and services offered in the virtual world. Is this a cost effective way to introduce students to our academic libraries? Is this the wave of the future? For those students who may not know what resources are available to them in the library, this may be an interesting way to peak their interest. Users can remain anonymous, yet be able to access databases, search catalogs, and other collections as if they were in the real world library. Personally I like to roam the stacks, feel the actual books in my hands, and get the full experience of actually visiting the library, however, this may be a technologically savvy way for some to visit the library.
Check out the Second Life Introduction at: http://secondlife.com/whatis/?lang=en-US
Experience the Hong Kong Poly U library in the virtual world of Second Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UMOcVcRTF0&feature=related