In a normal library, readers can select and read a book on a topic that interests them. In our ‘Living Library’, you will have a chance to choose a ‘person-book’ with a life experience that interests you, and to ask this person various questions.
The first ‘Living Library’ appeared 13 years ago in Denmark at the Roskilde music festival. Its concept was developed by a Danish youth NGO called Stop the Violence. Since that time, the idea has been introduced in Ukraine and several dozen other countries.
The ‘books’ are people about whom certain stereotypes in society exist – usually, these are representatives of ethnic, religious minorities, LGBT groups (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), as well as people who live in enclosed groups (such as, for example, refugees) or follow uncommon lifestyles (for example, vegans or anarchists).
We are organizing a ‘Living Library’ and selecting the most interesting and unique ‘books’ for it, in order to give our ‘readers’ a platform for dialogue, and through this an understanding of how different the life of a person representing this or that society group can be from our stereotypes and prejudices regarding this group.
This will be absolutely free; however, the ‘readers’ have to follow certain rules: you can communicate only with one ‘book’ per visit, ideally with the one that you like the least. You must return it to the library in the same physical and emotional condition as you found it. And of course, in the ‘Living Library’ there are no stupid, uncomfortable or sharp questions; nor is there any place for insults – with words or physical force.
Oleksandra Nazarova, curator