Book Chapter or Section
Librarianship has stereotypically been about books, communities, and the connection between the two. With the emergence of new media and technology, the concept of books has expanded to include information of all types and in multiple formats: eBooks, DVDs, videogames, electronic databases, et cetera. Meanwhile, the idea of community has stayed the same. For example, public libraries primarily serve communities defined by geographic lines; academic libraries serve their campus communities. In non-profit, medical or corporate libraries, communities are defined by their organization’s particular mission. However, now that virtual worlds are becoming mainstream, librarians are redefining community, just as they redefined books. With the emergence of virtual worlds, librarians are encountering virtual patrons, and communities defined by virtual lines that defy physical boundaries. This chapter discusses the librarians and organizations that are moving librarianship into virtual communities, as well as the first library initiatives in online worlds.