I have heard that a number of major libraries in the world opened their virtual representation in Second Life but I didn't really spend time to learn about how they used virtual world to expand their library service. I finally got my call to learn about it after washing dishes last night. (Oh well...I do think about serious things sometimes when I do the dishes, not merely about the rising egg price.)
I landed in front of a huge teleport map in front of the virtual Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. The teleport map is especially useful for visitors who are not familiar with the physical library. They can explore the virtual building before the visit the library. 9 major parts of the library represented in virtual world are more than enough to give first time library user a sense of direction. Those parts are Friedrich von Gärtner saal, Ausstellung, Marmorsaal, Lesesaal, Treppenhaus, Fürstensaal (my favorite room), info center, innenhof 1, and innenhof 2.
I learned that due to copyright issue, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek could not lend their books to users in virtual world. So what is a library without books, right? I am not a fan of copyright. (My publisher friends will give me a mean look when they read this) In the future when copyright is no longer an issue, a virtual library can function like a real library. Technically it is possible to publish, lend, borrow, and read books in virtual world. For the mean time, I was satisfied with the non copyrighted books, such as historic books which were available at virtual Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. The library brought their historic books collection to virtual world and converted them into 3D book. Some books dated back in the year 1200s. What a treasure!