On March 27, instead of heading home in the snow blizzard in downtown Chicago at 5:00 pm, I went into Second Life as my avatar, ALALibraryVal Miles, and attended an in-world author appearance of Sarah Robbins (Intellagirl Tully in SL/Second Life) and Mark Bell (Typewriter Tackleberry in SL/Second Life), the two writers of the 2008 Wiley publication, Second Life for Dummies. I admit to maybe knowing more about the Second Life virtual world than most staffers, but I certainly don't know everything!
The talk was both informal and informative, similar to how Robbins and Bell said they approached writing and compiling the book. It sounded like a solid, fun addition for the library of anyone wanting to know more about Second Life and how it works--and how it can work for you and help you to accomplish your goals, either with a group or individually.
It certainly sounds like a book the ALA Library should have--so it's a good thing that I won a copy, that I will be donating to the ALA Library!
Wiley, the book's publisher, put together four prize packages, each including a copy of the Second Life for Dummies book and a Dummies duffle bag and other Dummies items (apparently, March is For Dummies month). There was a trivia quiz at the end of the event, and I thought I was done winning when I answered one early "door prize" question correctly which netted me a cute floaty blue halo for my avatar to wear. The questions for the Dummies prize package were a little harder, but through a rather funny set of circumstances, I managed to answer the last one correctly and win!
The last question was the name of the island and the Second Life coordinates for publisher Wiley's in-world bookstore, which I found out in about as roundabout a way that you could imagine--! The "pre-show" entertainment was host Kim Anubis performing magic tricks (well, Second Life scripted magic tricks, of making items appear and disappear) for the audience that was gathering in the chairs in front of the stage. One of the tricks was Kim summoning up some big soap bubbles that anyone could click on and have their avatar ride in. Always game for anything (sadly...), I clicked on one of the bubbles and my avatar suddenly appeared inside it, and the bubble proceeded to float up higher and higher above the crowd and into the sky--and kept floating out further and further up and away from the event!? Yagh! I ended up clicking on the bubble itself, which popped and released me, but now I had no idea where I was or how to get back. Now, on my way in to the chairs and stage for the event, Wiley had set up a set of tables that you could click on and get sample chapters of all of their Second Life books, which included a Landmark (a kind of bookmark/favorites link for Second Life, to use to return to places). I assumed that the Landmark was for the event, so I double-clicked on it to use it, but it didn't teleport my avatar back to the event, it took me to--Wiley's in-world bookstore! At the time, I was really confused. I dug through my Inventory and found the Landmark I originally used and luckily made it back to the event and even back to my original chair. Little did I know such accidental information would come in handy!
Should you want your own cute floaty blue halo someday, it's not too late to read the AL (American Libraries) Direct Ask-the-Librarian question on Second Life as well as specific pages about it on the ALA Professional Tips Wiki, at:Second Life and Libraries (2008 March 19) - includes step-by-step instructions on joining the free online virtual world
Library Uses for Second Life
For more background on where ALA is going with Second Life, see:
Second ALA Life, Marginalia Blog Post by Jenny Levine (3/14/08)
ALA Staff in Second Life Flickr Photo Set
As I was writing this post, my prize arrived from Wiley!! Along with the Second Life for Dummies book, I got several branded For Dummies items, including the (gorgeous!) duffle bag, a notebook, a highlighter/pen, a pin, a travel coffee mug, CD travel case, and a collapsible keyboard! Most groovy and marvy!
Thank you, Wiley, Kim Anubis, Intellagirl Tulley, Typewriter Tackleberry, and most definitely, Krisser Deschanel at Wiley!