Virtual Worlds: Libraries in Second Life during COVID 19 and Post COVID 19
Keywords:Virtual worlds, Libraries, Librarians, Coronavirus, COVID 19.
In early March 2020, COVID-19 blindsided the glove academic libraries included; now occurring reopening campuses, academic libraries face a paradigm shift. Instead of returning to normal, librarians will be returning to a "new normal" Virtual worlds like Second Life are becoming important tools for, among other activities, socialization, social networking, entertainment, collaboration, business development and library services during and after the pandemic. The Second Life platform was created and released on 23rd of June 2003 by Linden Lab a company founded by Philip Rosedale as a vehicle for individuals to create a computer generated alter ego (an avatar) to explore, learn, and live in communities much like their real life counterparts. The platform gained popularity as people swarmed to participate in a new of social connection. As Second Life gained in popularity, some librarians saw this as an opportunity to reach out to a growing cyber community by providing virtual reference service, conferences, workshops and classes. This paper discusses some library and information services that can be provided through virtual worlds such as Second Life and some job skills needed by Virtual World Librarians especially during and post covid 19 era. The study shows how libraries in developed countries adopt second life as a tool in reference and current awareness services, as well as reveal some challenges faced by librarians in providing information services in Second Life.