Living Library is method of informal education, encouranging social awareness, tolerance and respect for human rights. Living library consists of Living books, librarians and readers.
Living Books are people from vulnerable social groups, experiencing discrimination or stereotypes in society. Living books have a lot to say about discrimination, social inequality, answer a lot of deep and intimate questions concerning lifestyle of different social groups.
Libriarian meets a reader (a trespasser, participant or targeted audence) that comes to the Living Library. Libriarian is a trained person and responsible for preparing audience for reading process, explaining the rules and suggesting to pick a book from catalogue. Coming people often have questions: what will I ask the Living book? Is the Living book feels ok about my questions? Will I offend the Living book with my questions? Etc. „Before talking to Living book Roma people I hesitated: I don‘t like Roma people, what will we talk about? And only after seeing friendly smile of a book I managed to start a nice conversation – I‘m glad I made it“ – anonymous reader presents her experience.
Process of reading involves sincere conversation between Living book and reader, asking concerning questions and getting straight answers. Reading process becomes comfortable and interactive place for intimate communication with people from socially vulnerable groups. Libriarians are observing conversation from aside and intervene if needed. The reading session is approximately 15 to 25 minutes. Usually result of reading is obvious: reader leaves thoughtful, positive and energised, quite often they become friends or exchange contacts. Process of reading demolishes barrier of uncertainty and fear, develops tolerance and mutual understanding.
Worldwide successful method of informal education started in Lithuania in 2007 as a part of European Council campaign „All different – all equal“. From that time on importance and popularity of Living Library is growing in society, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions.