What is a Living Library?
The Living Library is an event taking place on Saturday, August 24, 2019 from 2:00 – 4:30pm. The goal of the event is to bring people together for conversations that break down stereotypes and strengthen understanding between community members. Volunteers acting as “living books” will share an aspect of their identity with readers, and might have titles such as Trans, Homeless, Single Parent, Muslim, Vegan, Bisexual, Mental Illness Survivor, Veteran, Atheist, Homeschooler, etc.
Readers attending the event will have the opportunity to “borrow” a living book for a 20-minute one-on-one conversation. This is an opportunity to learn about people whose life experiences differ from your own, so asking questions is encouraged. It is our hope that these respectful, open conversations will foster an environment of empathy and give people the chance to examine their personal biases and misconceptions about others.
We are currently searching for living book volunteers! If you are interested in sharing your story, please complete the application here.
Guidelines for Books
- You will have 20 minutes to discuss your topic with each reader who borrows you.
- You will have a 10-minute break after each discussion.
- While it is natural for the flow of the conversation to take different paths with each reader, please do your best to keep the discussion focused on the aspect of your life that you have volunteered to share.
- Respect the privacy of each reader. If you reference the content of one of your previous discussions while talking to a new reader, please do not mention the previous reader’s name or reveal their identity.
- If a reader asks a question that you are not comfortable answering, feel free to decline to answer.
- If the tone of a conversation becomes confrontational, do your best to maintain a calm and respectful demeanor, and try to redirect the conversation to a less controversial area where you might be able to find common ground. If this does not resolve the situation, you have the right to end the conversation.
- You and the reader are both free to end the conversation at any point.
Guidelines for Readers
- Be respectful of the living books at all times.
- You will have 20 minutes to talk with each living book that you borrow.
- You must speak to an event organizer in order to sign up to borrow a living book.
- You are permitted to borrow more than one book throughout the event, depending on availability. Books must be borrowed one at a time.
- You may not videotape, record, or photograph the living book without their permission.
- You and the living book are both free to end the conversation at any point.