The Library of Prims, or to give it’s proper title, The Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, which i mentioned in passing in my previous post is a place worthy of note itself. A large, ornate and rather spectacular building, it dominates the plain overlooked by The Man statue and is itself considerably older than most buildings in sl. The building is an object lesson in the use of standard prims – no sculpties, meshes or megaprims here – all of which manages to conspire to achieve a construction that is visually stunning.

Even so, my first impression was limited to, ‘what a great building’, and since my attention was focussed on finding The Man, i didn’t really give The Library more than a cursory glance. In fact, i don’t even know that i’d have paid it any more attention if i hadn’t known that it was historically an important part of sl, so after paying my respects to The Man, i called in to the Library and i’m so glad that i did! i’m sure that it’s somewhere i’ll be going back to on numerous occasions.

Libraries are peculiar places: You either gravitate to them or you avoid them like the plague – the vast majority are functional repositories of information that we dip into whenever we feel the need, or out of necessity, we find ourselves obliged to spend time in such institutions, poring over text books and scribbling rough notes that make no sense to us when it comes to writing that final assignment. Some people love libraries and having the freedom to browse and choose books at their leisure, without the expense of having to buy them; others may rarely visit, preferring to own books that are always to hand and never have a return date, relying on Messrs Google and Wikipedia for any forays into research.

Over the centuries, some of the greatest institutions cited as means to the furtherance of human knowledge have been libraries: The Great Library at Alexandria; The Bodleian, and the library at Unseen University – and, despite what the doom-mongerers might say, i’m certain that libraries will still have an important role to fulfil in the future.

Libraries have two great strengths – first, they are flexible… With music, newspapers, internet and a variety of other services typically being offered alongside the more traditional books. Secondly, they are very much hands-on – the internet may well have unlimited resources but you can’t beat a library when it comes to scribbling notes, stuffing bookmarks and post-it notes here, there and everywhere, and having the human contact of fellow sufferers researchers and evil kindly librarians to assist. At their best, libraries can be more than just repositories of knowledge – they can enable, equip and inspire us towards success and achievement.

This is very much the ethos behind the Library of Prims – i wasn’t quite sure what to expect when i wandered in and at first it all seemed a little disappointing… the overwhelming impression was one of ‘Prims for Dummies’, with large representations of cubes with orientation arrows, snapshots of the edit menu and notecards explaining how to move and resize prims – all very basic and, frankly uninspiring, stuff. Nevertheless, i persevered, and discovered treasures on each of the floors above!

Here was a true library, in the best sense of the word – every shape of prim neatly displayed; each one clearly demonstrating various degrees of application of every option in the edit menu. Starting with the basics of shape, size and hollow, through to skew, twist, revolutions and dimple, each illustrated at every stage of evolution. i was both captivated and engaged… More than that; i was learning too! It was like viewing a three-dimensional database of shapes, each accompanied by instructional notecards and explanations in multiple languages – a veritable work of reference in physical, tangible form. Even after a year of twisting, manipulating and torturing prims, i was discovering things i’d never known – triangular holes in tubes, anyone? No problem! – along with simple rules that, until now, had never been explained to me. At last, much of the guesswork that i’d been used to relying upon when building was being replaced by straightforward rules and properties – it was a revelation.

The higher up the building you climb, the more complex it becomes – here i found tips and tricks for building everything from domed buildings with curved, arched supports to spiral staircases and prim-efficient furniture. The whole experience was both fascinating and illuminating and i’d recommend it to any builder, whether absolute beginner, or seasoned pro. It’s a great resource to come back to and be inspired and you come away from it full of ideas and plans.

It surprises me that little is done by the Lindens to publicise The Library – it’s an outstanding example of how a well-thought out and implemented concept can contribute to the sl community, and it’s a resource that’s free, accessible and open to all… you really should go along and take a look for yourself!

s. x

Libraries gave us power
Then work came and made us free
Manic Street Preachers – A Design For Life 

This entry was posted in RL, SL, SLarcheology, Tour Guide. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Primtastic

  1. Tristam Cooke says:

    I remember that, ages ago, back on Teen Second Life, there was a copy of the Library on our “Tutorial Island”, which wasn’t like orientation, buy you had to manually navigate to. Anyhow, the island was home to a sandbox that I virtually LIVED in (Double entendre. Heh) due to the fact that most people didn’t even know it was there. The telehub was directly in front of the library, accompanied by a large sign depicting “no weapons” a rule don’t think was EVER given much credit.
    But one boring day, I poked inside the Library, and found it interesting. And form that point onward, every time I found myself on Tutorial Island, bored of making massively primmy vehicles or treating noobs like braindead zombies, I would wander around the continuously empty halls of the library, and often learn something new.
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who appreciated this seemingly abandoned codex.

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