At 12:00 noon PDT on Saturday, March 28th, Seanchai Library opens their latest presence in a world beyond SL; this one being Inworldz. The new centre (https://inworldz/region/Sendalonde/217/144/28) is located on Sendalonde, or “Peaceful Heaven”, in Inworldz, the home of the Community Library there. It occupies a small parcel on the east side of the region, across a bridge from the imposing build of the Community Library.
With Seanchai new already well established in Kitely, where they have a central home world as well as number themed “satellite” worlds for storytelling and which has most recently seen them launch their new Explore the Arts series with the highly successful Explore The Great Gatsby, I asked Caledonia Skytower, one of the driving forces behind Seanchai today, what prompted the move to Inworldz and the Community Library.
“Well, they asked us, nicely!” she replied, with a smile. “More than once, as well, so it was clear they wanted to build a relationship with us, and saw in us something aligned with their own core values and they reached out to build a connection. I admit, I was a little slower on the uptake that Shandon [Loring, Seanchai’s chief storyteller] was.”
Not that invitations were enough; there were a number of meetings between Caledonia and Shandon and Alexina Proctor and Prax Maryjasz, co-founders and directors of the Community Library in Inworldz, along the way. These were used to exchange and discuss ideas, along with opportunities for collaboration explored, with Alexina and Prax both being aware of the Seanchai Library’s evolution as a result of their own time in SL.
Another factor that played a hand in things is the degree of ebb and flow of users between SL and Inworldz, with many people moving freely back and forth between the two, having a foot in both camps. “This includes Seanchai performers as well,” Cale said to me. “Aoife Lorefield, as an example, and Lani Kaikalani both have a presence in Inworldz, as does Rosslyn Guardian who read at Seanchai way back when.”
Inworldz also has its own rich culture of events, which the Community Library, under Alexina and Prax’s leadership has been busily plumbing, so there is the opportunity for Seanchai Library to offer an additional stage on which voices can be heard – and which may additionally attract those who do move between SL and IW to come along to both Seanchai and Community Library events.
Indeed, the Community Library in Inworldz has become something of a nexus for language & arts based programming; presenting a means by which literature, storytelling and the arts can become a vital, functional part of virtual communities in a wide range of roles. Founded in 2011, it has has enjoyed steady growth and success, initially being associated with the Elf Clan, but more recently having relocated to better fulfil its growing role, and to meet the needs of wider networking within the world-wide virtual community as a whole – such as through the new links with Seanchai.
And it is networking which also played a role in Seanchai’s decision to add Inworldz to their growing virtual worlds presence, again as Cale explained. “Part of Seanchai’s success has been our ability to build and maintain networks and synchronistic connections between other like-minded/intentioned venues and programs.
“We actually tried to build a relationship that had the potential to become like what the Community Library in Inworldz is, but it became readily apparent very quickly in the exploratory process that the fit wouldn’t work. Such things are not failures, they are self-defining. We walked out of that situation into a series of conversations which eventually lead to really motivating us to develop an OS presence, to piloting Explore, and to taking this current step. That’s all good stuff!”
Seanchai’s presence in Sendalonde will be instantly recognisable to anyone who had visited their base in either SL or Kitely – and deliberately so. It gives their presence in IW a familiar look and feel, and while it may look modest when compared to something like the 4-region homeworld on Kitely, it nevertheless allows Seanchai to offer a number of potential use spaces in the parcel beyond the main storytelling floor.
The layout is also in keeping with Seanchai’s plans for their initial time in Inworldz. “We’ll be starting once a month (probably the final Saturday of each month – but that is not cast in stone),” Cale told me. “We still have to balance maintaining programming in SL and Kitely, and I am the first one to say that ‘more is not always better.’ Of course, Shandon and I would long-range like to make our livings producing programming like this on virtual platforms – but there are limits to how much is possible until the time comes that we can do this full time AND pay bills!”
For the opening event, Shandon Loring will be reading the inaugural story, a piece from his Hilo Tales collection of Hawaiian stories. Caledonia will then read a selection from her own story, Gorak the Gobbler. So, why not join them for this special opening event – and while there, take time to explore the facilities at the Community Library; they really are quite exceptional!