The multi-user virtual world Second Life is an online software platform that allows users to jointly explore realistic three-dimensional environments via avatar characters, communicate via voice and text chat, and collaborate using shared creation tools. Librarians and educators have been developing academic content and services in Second Life for use with students and other constituency groups since 2005. This study surveyed academic librarians working in Second Life to discover their perceptions of virtual world environments for teaching and learning and to gauge the impact of this technology on their work with faculty and students. Sixty-two librarians provided details on various aspects of their professional involvement in Second Life. Findings show that librarians from every type of academic institution, at all levels of advancement, and in every department participate in this virtual world. Results include details of roles and functions, as well as perceived benefits and challenges. Because many adolescents and teenagers worldwide are currently active virtual world participants, academic librarians in Second Life view virtual world technology as a significant near-future educational trend.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Library Innovation, v. 3, no. 1, p. 20-47.

©2012, D. Cote, B. Kraemer, D. Nahl, R. Ashford. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 (United States) license.