Former ALA Island in Second Life Page from

ALA Island in Second Life

ALA Island is the Second Life (SL) virtual world presence of the American Library Association (ALA).

ALA Island in Second Life Landing Page Image

ALA Island was first announced February 26, 2007:  ALA/Arts Island Set to Open in Second Life

ALA Island closed January 1, 2012: ALA Island will be closing 1/1/2012


The central location is the Main Stage on ALA Island (128, 107, 29).

View details and information on the art exhibits, the trivia game show, the L$10,000 Linden machinima contest, the book discussions, the live music performances, and the virtual read out at 2010 Banned Books Week in Second Life.

For an overview of what there is to see and do on ALA Island in Second Life, read the 2009 Library Showcase article from I Love Libraries, ALA Island: A Community Information Center for Second Life from the American Library Association.

Direction for ALA Island comes from ALA’s Virtual Communities and Libraries (VCL) Member Initiative Group (MIG). This group is open to all ALA members; contact staff liaison Christina Coleman for information (or send an IM to her avatar in Second Life, Kay Tairov).

Members of ALA’s academic libraries unit, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL, a division of ALA), can elect to join the ACRL Virtual Worlds Interest Group; contact ACRL liaison Mary Jane Petrowski for more information.

The ALA VCL MIG and the ACRL Virtual Worlds Interest Group were among the co-sponsors of The Future is Now: Libraries and Museums in Virtual Worlds Conference of March 2010 (#FIN10). Links to presentations, poster sessions, and articles by speakers at the conference are available at Many pictures have been collected at its own The Future is Now: Libraries & Museums in Virtual Worlds, 2010 Flickr Group.

Events taking place on ALA Island are announced via the ALA Island Facebook Fan Page as well as the ALA Island Events Public Google Calendar. Event details as well as other key facts and announcements come via the ALA Island Twitter, @ALA_Island. Photos of various in-world events and activities can be seen at the American Library Association in Second Life Flickr Group; feel free to join the group and add your own Second Life snapshots.

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The American Library Association Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group (ALA VCL MIG), which was proposed and founded in 2007, records its activities at the Virtual Presence Blog. Both the ALA VCL MIG on ALA Connect and the ALA VCL MIG E-Discussion List are online forums for discussing topics of interest to the group, which explores issues and interests of libraries and library workers in a wide variety of social networking and multi-user universe settings. Further in-depth resources on ALA Island can be found on the ALA in virtual worlds page of the ALA Read Write Connect Wiki.

For more information on the virtual world itself and how it functions, consider joining the Second Life Users Group on ALA Connect.

More information about academic libraries and librarians in Second Life is available at the ACRL Virtual Worlds Interest Group on ALA Connect.

And please be aware that events added for ALA Island to the Second Life Event Calendar are set to automatically appear on the ALA Island page at, thanks to Second Life creator, Linden Lab — but fair warning, this partnership-of-code-only has occasionally placed events there that are not ours. Contact ALA staffer Christina Coleman with any questions or concerns along that line.

Pictures, blog posts, and other online resources for ALA Island can be found by searching its tag: “alaisland.”

Need help and information on signing up for and participating in the Second Life virtual world? Please see the Second Life page on the ALA Library Professional Tips Wiki. Check your local public and/or community college library for any of the books on the Second Life Books – Introductory and Second Life: Beyond the Basics book lists. Also see the page Library Uses for Second Life — and feel free to add your own suggestions or regular activities.

The history of the ALA Island that appears below was adapted from an Association of Virtual Worlds Blog Post by Donavan Vicha, known as avatar Oberon Octagon in the Second Life virtual world:

In November 2007, the American Library Association took over the island that the Alliance Library System (ALS) had provided them at the start of that year. With help from San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science, a hand-picked team of graduate students met with Donavan Vicha (Web Developer and Oberon Octagon in SL) 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!)

ALA Island - Overhead shot From the screenshot provided, 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).

ALA Island - Lorelei Junot Gallery 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. ACRL also has a parcel and active members using the island. We felt that NLW was another proof of concept for ALA and will continue to develop the facilities. Regular meetings of the Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group (VCL MIG) occur on the island with plans for programming at Annual next summer in Chicago.

In September, Kay and Oberon attended the Second Life Community Convention to continue networking with other residents and with Linden Lab officials. Unlike previous Internet frontiers (WWW, for instance), ALA is staking a claim in the development of what may someday supercede the two-dimensional Web.

Preparations are underway for our second Banned Books Week in Second Life, with a riverboat and cornfield, village and topiary, all celebrating challenged authors Stephen King and Laura Ingalls Wilder (hard to believe, eh?) among others.

— May 21, 2008

The ALA VCL MIG Statement of Purpose:

To provide a group within ALA for members interested in fostering the practice of library work, the visibility of libraries and library workers, and the extension of library services within online social networks, virtual worlds, and other communities of intention. To provide a mechanism for sharing experiences and practices in-person or virtually through programming or asynchronous communications. To encourage wider participation by the profession and the association in virtual worlds. and To establish a forum across all types of libraries and at all levels of library employment concerned with the development of library services in emerging social networks, virtual worlds, and other communities of intention. This group is open to all members.

The proposal to ALA’s Committee on Organization in 2007 noted:

Within the past year and a half a wide variety of libraries, library workers, and library-related organizations have begun exploring, working, and creating library services in virtual worlds, such as Second Life, Teen Second Life, Active Worlds, Whyville, and others. Just as real-world libraries serve communities of users, these initiatives in virtual worlds are striving to serve the residents of these virtual worlds. An ALA VCL MIG will foster and facilitate communication, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices within the organizational structure and communication channels of ALA.

The Announcement of the Formation of the American Library Association Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group dated June 26, 2007:

During its meeting in Washington, DC during the Annual Conference of the American Library Association, the ALA Committee on Organization approved the request — supported by 101 signatures from supportive ALA members — to form a Member Initiative Group on Virtual Communities and Libraries. The ALA VCL MIG will foster and facilitate communication, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices as library workers from all types of libraries explore ways to provide information and information services to members of virtual communities. Kitty Pope, the Director of the Alliance Library System, Lori Bell, the Director of Innovation at the Alliance Library System, Matt Gullett, the Emerging Technology Manager at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, and Tom Peters, CEO of TAP Information Services, are the four designated organizers of the VCL MIG.

The ALA VCL MIG Designated Organizers — which came to include Rhonda Trueman, Librarian, Johnson & Wales University Charlotte — first met during the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting.


Last updated: January 2012