Living Library

Living Library


For this activity you will need a bit more space, or it could also be an outdoor activity. It is necessary that you have a table and two chairs where people can talk. It is also advisable that people can take turns and that talking sessions with your live book last not longer than 15 min. It is also recommended that you prepare, in advance, rules of behavior or questions that should be avoided in order for your live books to feel comfortable.

Description of activity

The methodology has been devised and refined to serve the main goal of the Living Library: to promote respect for human rights and human dignity by challenging prejudice through fostering constructive dialogue about stereotypes that frequently lead to discrimination against individuals or groups.

The Living Library was created and is motivated by the realization that most people use stereotypes in their interactions with other people at least some of the time. Almost no one can truthfully declare that they have no prejudices at all or that they do not subject others, even if unconsciously, to stereotypes. Stereotypes can automatically be activated even in individuals who strive to be prejudice-free.This is due to most people not being consciously aware of the precise moments when their attitudes and judgments are being influenced by a particular, pre-existing stereotype.

Three key stages of stereotype-mitigation have been identified: 1) Increased information about the other group results in cognitive “approaching” to that group. 2) As a result of personal contact, the negative tension relating to the other group decreases. 3) Empathy towards the other group is strengthened.

While inviting people who have gone through difficult or interesting periods in their life, it is important to know that their stories can change opinions, thinking and can affect readers to understand better and get positive experience. 

Talking to person face-to-face and hearing their personal stories and asking questions that would clarify and misunderstandings helps