Could You be a Living Book?

The Shire Community Living Library - call for Expressions of Interest to be a Living Book.

Are you someone out of the ordinary? Do you know of a local whose story inspires you? Do you think others would benefit from hearing the tale? Then please let others know about it and consider becoming involved in The Shire Community Living Library.

A Living Library works like any other library. Books are borrowed, returned when read and another book can be borrowed. The difference is that the Books are people. The conversations held as part of this project will take place in a controlled and safe environment in the Central Library at Sutherland. The activity is designed to build an understanding of difference, by exposure to people who have alternative life experiences, thereby encouraging the breaking down of barriers and prejudices within our community.

Understanding of difference often comes from listening to the diverse points of view of others. Positive community outcomes are built upon a knowledge and understanding of all those with a stake in the community. Through this activity Readers of a Living Book will have the opportunity to hear these differing views in an accepting, controlled environment. The more people who have tangible relationships with, or at least feel they understand, a wide range of groups within a community, the better.

The framework for this project originated in 2000 in Denmark at the Roskilde Festival, by the Danish youth NGO, Stop the Violence. It has since been adopted by the Directorate of Youth and Sport within the Council of Europe. It has been so successful that it has continued to be held at many festivals throughout Europe since.

The concept was taken up by a librarian from the Malmo library in Sweden. Catherina Noren's efforts were noticed by one Andrew Denton of Enough Rope fame. You can read, listen to or watch that interview to get an idea of the purpose and the potential power of the Living Library.

The first Living Library developed in Australia was held by Lismore Library in 2007. Lismore's Living Library day was so successful that the event is now running once a month.

The Shire’s first event will take place in June 2008. Reader response will be evaluated and it is anticipated that, with a positive outcome subsequent events would be held on a monthly basis throughout the year. It is hoped that there will be a pool of books to draw on, so that each event will have a different mix of Titles for Readers to choose from.

More information about the Living Library program can be obtained by telephoning Jacinta Craine at Sutherland Library on 9710 0351. If you are interested in becoming a Living Book, or know someone who you think would be, please complete a Living Library Expressions of Interest form. Completed forms can be returned to any branch library.