Having taken the MLIS Issues in Distance Education course last term, I am quite familiar with Second Life – the professor held office hours every week in Second Life, and we were encouraged to attend and participate by discussing weekly readings and topics. To be honest, it never quite won me over. Overall, I think it lacked the following that other social media applications have. When I was in the course, outside of other library students, I had only one friend who knew what Second Life was (in fact, he was surprised to hear that it still existed). Throughout the course we were taken to a number of different virtual islands. One island had a banned books exhibit on it, and another had librarians working reference shifts in a virtual library. There were some very interesting things to look at and do, but on the whole, I found it extremely hard to figure out. Even by the final week of the term, I still struggled to figure out how to sit down in the chairs that surrounded the table our avatars sat at for weekly discussions. I can’t count the number of times I sat on the ground instead of sitting in the chair. How embarrassing!
For this week’s post, I decided to revisit Second Life. It had been a good four months since I had last visited the virtual world, so I figured I’d go back and see what had changed, and if there were any avatars hanging around the Western area of Second Life. I ended up taking a ride on the Mustang Express, a virtual train that takes you around the island. It was neat, but not exactly educational. My laptop quickly started to get hot, and considering the number of final projects I had stored on it, I decided that it was best to end my return to Second Life and log off.
I am definitely not a gamer, and I never really caught on to video games, even as a kid. For this reason, I’ve had a tough time getting used to the idea of video games and libraries being compatible. It also makes it hard for me to come up with answers to the questions posed by Dr. Rasmussen. I suppose one reason why children might choose to convene at a library, is that they might not have access to these types of electronics at home, and can make use of the resources available at the library instead. The library could also bring people from a wider gaming community together in one place (ie. if you only play one game all the time, you might never interact with gamers that like to play a different game). If the library sets up programming that brings people together, you might be exposed to a much greater range of people and maybe gain some new gaming interests. That being said, at this point, I don’t know of any really fantastic service or resource that the library can offer gamers. I’m sure I was probably pretty perplexed when I first heard about libraries getting involved with Facebook and Twitter too though, so maybe it will just take some time for me to come around to the idea.