Pictorial History of ALA Island: 2009

ALA Island History | 01/15/2012

The fact that ALA provided such a great space for handling meetings and events encouraged other libraries to develop presences in SL. Our next-door neighbor for a time was the Cleveland Public Library, which featured a large working chessboard as part of its terrain. The larger units of ALA--ACRL and AASL--took advantage of the space. For a time, staff from AASL facilitated some of these activities, but none from ACRL. Members took the lead, as they should. But lack of staff support proved over time to be fatal to sustaining the island.
When the Midwinter meeting was held, the first meeting of the Membership Initiative Group for virtual members was held jointly in SL as well as onsite. The Grand Stage was renamed The Galen Noltenius Platform in honor of the young man who invested the first Washington Office of ALA in SL. Sadly, he was struck by a car and after months in a coma succumbed. Thus, in our small way, we honored his pioneering effort. By the end of MW, the Main Stage of the island was dominated by screens showing the Youth Media Awards streamed live, unlike the previous year where it had been taped and shown later.

ALA President Jim Rettig did not appear as an avatar but encouraged a salon approach to discussions of library issues at a corner of the sim designated for such activities called Salon Huron (the street on which ALA HQ is situated). Another corner of the sim had a dance floor. While that may sound frivolous, what dancing in SL really facilitates is social networking. It's something for your avatar to do while chatting. Much more interesting that watching the figures sit. Fireworks was another source of entertainment at ALA Island events and several librarians were adept at creating beautiful displays of pyrotechnics.

Other skills that came into play: making t-shirts that matched those sold in first life at conferences and events. All given away. Some very clever reference tools were created and deployed at the Reference Desk of InfoIsland. SJSU developed SLoodle, an offshoot of Moodle, the open-source, online education management application. During NLW, a hunt with outside sponsors was organized in another attempt to draw on the greater SL community both in terms of gaining sponsors and attracting visitors beyond librarians.
For BBW 2009, I was able to get a copy of a riverboat to display challenged works by Mark Twain and Philip Jose Farmer. Kay Tairov (Tina Coleman, Membership Services specialist) commissioned the construction of BBW Village that hovers just above the dance area. The village is a vibrant collection of references to the diversity books that have come to be challenged. Also below and taking advantage of the snowy higher ground descending from the mountain on one end of the island was a cross-country ski course I created from another resident product. The track toured through various book award displays.

The photos on this page:

The first two show the bare beginnings of the Galen Noltenius Platform (top right) and the use to which it was often made. The second shot shows me with the laptop slideshow controller and the avatars attending the Midwinter Member Initiative Group meeting.

The next picture is on the Main Stage, a live presentation for the Recruitment Assembly for School Media Librarians.

Next is Kay Tairov (hovering in the center, as is her usual posture) leading a discussion at Salon Huron, an initiative mandated by Jim Rettig's ALA presidency.

One of the sponsors for our National Library Week Hunt was a store called Mimi a Go Go, note the posters in the background. Mimi was also a great creative resource for some of the reworking of parts of the island.

Another addition to the island was the underwater labyrinth, taken on by Kay and friend Mimi. One of the great things about SL is that prolonged submergence in water isn't fatal.

 The reconstruction for Banned Books Week. Note the riverboat and the construction of BBW Village to the right side of the photo.

Continue to 2010-11

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