Founded in 2008, Seanchai Library is one of the longest running virtual world Libraries in existence. Specialising in presenting stories and poetry and more in voice, the Seanchai team and their friends have presented thousands of storytelling events across the grid over the past dozen plus years, and in the process has raised raised thousands of real US dollars for numerous charities.
Starting life as the West of Ireland Library and Cultural Centre, a part of the West of Ireland Charity Estate, Seanchai Library’s own story has been an evolving tale of growing chapters that have over the years have included many faces in a growing family of storytellers and readers, with new chapters being added as the Library has either moved to new locations or expanded it activities and presence. Some of these chapters include:
- 2010: joining the Community Virtual Library (CVL) estate in Second Life, when the Library officially adopted the title Seanchai (pr. Shawn-a-kee – A traditional Irish storyteller/historian).
- 2012: the launch of The Dickens Project. Now very much a part of Second Life’s Christmas tradition, complete with the support of Linden Lab, The Dickens Project has to date received nearly 5000 visits, hosted 61 events, and run over 88 hours of live programming featuring 65 performers, presenters, and artists.
- 2014: Seanchai expanded to the OpenSim / Hypergrid enabled Kitely, offering a range of programmes and events to a broad audience of virtual world users, and presented the first virtual / physical world presentation in what would become their EXPLORE programme; Explore The Great Gatsby was presented in partnership with the Tacoma Little Theatre (TLT), Tacoma, Washington state.
- 2015: In partnership with CVL, Seanchai Library established a presence on (the now defunct) InWorldz grid, which operated for two years prior to both CVL and Seanchai withdrawing from InWorldz.
- 2017: Seanchai Library relocated to Holly Kai Park as part of the integrated arts programming at the Park.
I was particularly honoured to play a small role in the Library’s move to Holly Kai Park and to share in their work through the Stories in the Park events that featured Seanchai’s storytellers and artists from across the grid.
This coming weekend, Seanchai Library opens a new chapter in its story, as it transfers its base of operations to a new, bigger location that has generously provided by friend to the Library and to the arts (as well as a gifted storyteller / writer and raconteur), R. Dismantled.
For the last three years, it’s been my distinct pleasure to work with Cale and Shandon and Seanchai Library, and I look forward to continuing to cover their events and activities as I’ve done since 2011, and also to the opportunity of working with Seanchai through the auspices of the Phoenix Artists Collaboration (PAC) at both Seanchai’s new home at at PAC’s expanded home of Cherished Melody.
The new facilities officially open to Seanchai events on Sunday, September 6th, although they have been available to the public to visit even as the Library’s team has been preparing the land and setting up their new building and storytelling grounds. In particular, the new environment offers Seanchai Library far more space at ground level in which to offer storytelling settings, with space overhead in which to host special events and sessions.
In the meantime, if you would like to join Seanchai Library for their farewell event at Holly Kai Park, you can do so at 19:00 SLT, when Shandon Loring will be reading Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous.