|The Library at Amatsu Shima|
by POMONA WRITER
The Amatsu Library is a small community library serving Amatsu Shima Okiya and all interested residents of Second Life. Amatsu Shima, Heavenly Island, is a Japanese- themed island sim, and the Okiya is a school for geisha. The students study Japanese history as well as the various arts and culture associated with geisha of the Edo Period, and the expression of those things in Second Life. The library's collections focus on these subjects.
There are currently three collections in the library: the archives of Hana no Sei, books of art and history, and books of haiku poetry. There are a few books which don't fall into these categories, and most are in the Reading Room, uncatalogued.
The Spring Room displays the archives of Hana no Sei as clickable posters which serve notecards from past classes. Hana no Sei is an educational project run by Rena Winkoop, Geisha Youmi, who gives presentations on Japanese art history as well as more modern subjects such as Manga and Anime. The second collection in the Summer Room displays beautiful "real" books by Jude Janus, with pages that turn, showing the art and history of geisha and old Japan. For the Autumn Room, DanteOsaka Deschanel of the Shin Tao Haiku Retreat has also created "real" books; these are filled with haiku and senryu written by Second Life residents.
A simple cataloguing system suffices for the small scope of the present library. A realistic looking old style card catalogue cabinet is clickable to obtain the notecards cataloguing the books by author, title, and subject. Other objects are clickable to serve notecards about the library, a library card, ways to make donations, or related Second Life events.
Plans for the future of the library include obtaining more "real" books, creation of a system of accessing online appropriate reading materials as other Second Life libraries already do, and holding events at the library. Writer would also like to create alliances with other Second Life libraries. She has received advice from Caledon librarian J.J. Drinkwater but has not yet been able to implement his suggestions. Her lament is much the same as other Second Life residents, "There is never enough time for everything in Second Life."
The Amatsu Library is perhaps more like a museum or a display which exists in harmony with the aesthetic atmosphere of Amatsu Shima island and illustrates both the ideals and aspirations of the Okiya. Providing information to Second Life residents is different from methods used in real life. Writer ponders how to improve ways of providing information in her library and what new techniques might be utilized. For example, the geisha students' studies include the use of a website and email exchanges as well as classes attended "in person." So far the Amatsu Library has not been able to provide the tools to become an integral part of the learning process.
There are a growing number of Okiya in Second Life. Each Okiya has its own interpretation of the geisha's role. Recently a Kenban, a Geisha Registry Office, was created to promote useful cooperation among the geisha groups. This is a new and evolving project. As librarian for Amatsu Okiya, Writer is a member of the Kenban. She hopes to affiliate with libraries similar to hers through this wider avenue of Japanese-interested groups in Second Life.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 07 December 2008 14:29|