This next method is all about breaking down stereotypes about different groups in society and about getting people to speak with each other in a respectful way despite being different. It is a powerful tool to challenge the perceptions that your participants might have towards people who face stigmas due to their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, way of life, occupation, etc.

How does it work?

  • Living Library initiates programs/events that engage “readers” and “books” into a dialogue. “Books” are people who belong to a group that your participants have a lot of prejudice against and they share their personal stories. “Readers” are your participants who engage in a conversation with these “books” and can ask them questions.
  • Each “book” has a catchy title that makes “readers” interested in engaging in a dialogue with them.
  • Ideally during your Living Library, one can find a catalogue of “books” with different stories and that belong to different groups.
  • “Readers” can “borrow” each “book” for a conversation for a limited period of time by sitting with the book. You could either let them switch books whenever they want or you could give them specific time slots for each book.
  • Before the “reading” begins, it is important to make your readers aware that books don’t need to answer all questions and that they should take good care of the books they are “borrowing”. It is also important to make books aware that they don’t need to over-share their personal stories, if they don’t feel comfortable with that, and that they can set and reinforce their own boundaries.

How can I do it online?

You could create this method also online by using video tools like Zoom or Big Blue Button. Create breakout rooms for each book and assign participants to the books they want to read.

If you want to read more about the method, we recommend this guidebook and the website of Human Library.