Second Life at the Cullom-Davis Library

One of the big projects I have been working on is to create a presence for Bradley University and especially the library on Second Life.  For the uninitiated, Second Life, or SL as it is known to the residents, is a MUVE (multi user virtual environment) where all the objects, buildings, clothes, land–everything that exists in SL are created by the residents.  First, let me provide a little background on the library and SL.  I began hearing about SL in April 2005 when I would ride to meetings of the Alliance Library System (ALS) Board of Directors with the staff.  The Director of Innovation was very excited about this new virtual world and, I must admit, I could not wrap my mind around it.  I kept listening, though, as she talked about the possibilities for education and for libraries in this virtual world, I became fascinated with the possibilities.  On 10 August 2005, I chose my avatar and was “born” in SL as Puglet Dancer.  It took me quite a while to get up the courage to get off Help Island where the noobs (new residents of SL) learn how to move around, change appearance, create and move objects, and other useful skills.  I was teleported off Help Island to Info Island in late August and have been learning about SL ever since.

What is Info Island, you may wonder.  Info Island was created by ALS under the guidance of Lorelei Junot, aka Lori Bell, Director of Innovation at ALS, and is a place to find information.  We began in April creating Info Island and as of 12 February, we now have 14 islands or sims dedicated to libraries, museums and education. 

In September I formed a Second Life Task Force, comprised of Denise Johnson (Takver Twin), Skip Burhans (Polaris Lyon), Al Quiros (Watsnu Pussycat) and Chuck Frey to build a presence for Bradley in SL.  We were very lucky that Al has been in SL for over and year and is an experienced builder.  He built the Cullom-Davis Library in SL and is our primary architect.  Chuck is our ideas and digitizing man while the rest of us roam SL, answering questions and helping noobs find their way.

We are planning a grand opening of the what we call the Bradley campus on Info Island II on 28 February.  If you are a resident of SL, please contact one of us so we can add you to the Bradley University group.  I am planning it give you more information about SL in future posts.  I hope to talk a little about every aspect of it and would like to focus my direction on your interests.  Let me know what you’d like to know about and I will add that to the list.  If you have comments, questions or concerns, please let me know that as well.


2 thoughts on “Second Life at the Cullom-Davis Library”

  1. Museum exhibit created by students

    Just in time for our grand opening of the BU SL campus, we were able to add a museum exhibit that was created by a collaboration of a history class and an graphics art class. The students in HIS303, City Life: U.S. Urban and Suburban History, taught by Amy Scott, History Department and ART405, Graphics Design, taught by Robert Rowe and Gary Will, Art Department collaborated on a museum exhibit that covered some aspect of Illinois history. The history students provided the content and information and the art students designed and listed specifications for the exhibit. The culmination of this collaboration is a presentation to a board of local museum directors who review the projects, interview the students regarding both the content and feasibility of the exhibit, and then choose the best exhibit from the class. In the past, students were not able to see their projects built because of lack of funding. Each project had a budget of $1,000 and they were not able to find the funds to actual construct the exhibit.

    One of SL’s major attractions is the ability to build whatever you want or can imagine. This year, the library offered to construct the winning exhibit in SL so that students as well as others from around the world could see their exhibit. The winning exhibit concentrated on Joseph Greenhut, a local architect and builder whose home still remains on High Street. Abigail Peters was the lead student on this exhibit and she made electronic images available to Al Quiros who then constructed the exhibit in SL. We were thrilled that we were able to have this up in time for the grand opening of Bradley’s SL campus. We hope we can continue to do projects like this one in the future. If you have ideas for projects we can build in SL, please let me know.

  2. I seem to be in a blogging sort of mood so, while I’m on a roll, I’ll update you on Second Life and what we’ve been up to there. Maybe I’ll just give ya the highlights:
    *added gallery of presidential portraits to the Lydia Moss Bradley House (LMBH–too long to type out every time, lol)
    *put up photography final projects of graduating seniors in LMBH
    *received Innovative Teaching Grant to buy an island in SL and build a virtual BU campus
    That’s what we’ve done. Doesn’t seem like much but many things are still in progress. We will be bringing in exhibits from the Peoria Historical Society and from our special collections. We also hope to do an exhibit of student art work (if you are an art major and want to have a broader audience for your work, please call me). We are working with the Alumni Center to have some homecoming events in SL and are teaching sessions on SL as part of the IRT classes (Call Denise Johnson [x2840] if you would like to attend and can’t find a copy of the brochure). We are working with the publisher of Celebrating the History of Bradley Basketball: Victory, Honor and Glory to bring parts of it into SL and help market the book. We also began talking with Kevin Stein about the CD of Illinois Poets to see if we can help with that publication as well as with several faculty who want to use SL in their classes.

    BUT, the biggest and most exciting news is our new island. We were able to buy the island the library is currently on and I’m in the process of changing the name of the island from Info Island II to Bradley University. We thought of calling it LydiaLand but thought we’d better go with Bradley University. We are currently planning how to use that space and what we want to have there. If you are in SL and want to help, please let me know. We can give you the opportunity to help build, script, plan events, or whatever at no cost to you or to us. If you aren’t interested in helping, let me know anyway and I’ll add you to the Bradley University Group which we will use to share information in sl.

    Current plans for the island include the library and LMBH, gazebos for each college and other units who want a presence in sl around the Founder’s Circle, a Student Center, classrooms, exhibits, and a possible sandbox area. We are also looking for a student or 2 who want to help with building the Student Center and giving us some input.

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