Which Ning blog shall I post to after at least a seven-month hiatus
? Well, I may as well restart my blogging with a new location and maybe a more-receptive audience, too! I belong to the ALA Member ning, Second Life Librarians ning, and the SLED CC ning,
which I also just joined but which is a much more focused group. What have I got to say? That a lot has happened during those seven months and one post isn't even going to come close to covering it!
But here goes: The American Library Association took over the island that the Allliance Library System (ALS) had provided them at the start of 2007 in November 2007. (That experience is well covered in previous blogs on aforementioned nings.) With help from San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science, a hand-picked team of graduate students met with me to design and build the open-air campus of ALA Island. (SJSU-SLIS paid the students for the hours spent in brainstorming and building ... no small expense!)
As you can see from the screenshot above, the ALA logo is recreated three dimensionally and hovers above a lake in the middle of the island. There are no buildings, only platforms and kiosks for disseminating information via notecards, URLs, and videos. We have various-sized areas for handling group gatherings for presentations and expect avatars to fly or teleport to them. No bumping into walls or doors. The arched area at the top of the screenshot resembles the arches of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion of Chicago's Millenium Park, which gives a nod to the home city of ALA Headquarters.
The build was swiftly completed by the SJSU team in January 2008 and pretty much lay fallow until Christina Coleman (Kay Tairov in SL), incoming membership specialist at ALA, energized staff to mount a National Library Week (NLW) event that ran from April 13-19. We saw more than 3200 visitors during the two weeks surrounding the event (granted the figures are skewed by staff and member volunteers working the site). In that month before NLW, we put up kiosks for division, offices, and round tables of ALA, two lounge areas and the Publishing Pavillion as well as a video station on our lone geographic feature, AL Focus Mountain! As a tribute to Lori Bell at ALS, the floating gallery that will be dedicated to large photographic exhibits was named the Lorlei Junot Gallery (see below).
NLW opened with a speech by ALA President Lorienne Roy in her avatar form. And from there we provided a modest number of presentations and parties over the course of the week. Amercian Association of School Libraries (AASL) had a presentation that alerted us to the fact that our default setting for maximun number of avatars for the island was probably low at 40! With our low prim count and relative lack of animations/scripted items, we will push that number to 60 and see what happens. Another great presentation was Jenny Levine's "Gaming and Libraries."
Moving forward, we continue to have some streaming audio presentations from StoryLines America broadcasts created by the Public Programs Office. We have given AASL a parcel to develop as they have been most active on the island during NLW and since. We felt that NLW was another proof of concept for ALA and will continue to develop the facilities.
In my next blog, I plan on discussing some of the technology we are using to track visitors and provide events calendars via Google APIs and inworld gadgets.