What is a Virtual Library?

March 2, 2008 at 10:19 am (virtual library)

Valenza (2006) defines a school virtual libraries this way:

“Designed and maintained by school libraries, virtual libraries are multipage online resources devoted to the needs of their specific learning communities.  From a home page, users access search engines, databases, references, and general library and school information. “

In some articles (Pappas, 2003; Morris, 2005) the terms cybraries and cybrarians were used but, thankfully, I don’t think these have caught on.  I wouldn’t want to be called a cybrarian. 

Fuller (2005) states “terminology hampers a researcher wishing to locate these sites” as they can be described as digital , virtual or electronic (Pappas, 2005).  In my own search, I used virtual library yet many of Ronda’s references use the phrase school library web site.  Given this example, consistency or awareness of synonymous names continues to be an issue.

It’s interesting to compare Valenza’s definition to one quoted by Pappas (2003) from five years ago: “a library unconstrained by space, geographic location, or specific type of computer system.”  We’ve come a long way, focusing more on the people rather than geography or technology.


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