Posted on March 23, 2009 by Tia Lalani

A unique Living Library being held this week at the Augustana Campus gives students, staff & faculty a chance to check out a ‘living’ book.

A unique Living Library being held this week at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus gives students, staff and faculty a chance to check out a ‘living’ book and have a conversation with a person who has personal experience on topics that range from surviving sexual abuse, to encountering racism in Canada, to pursuing a university degree as an autistic student.

The first face-to-face library was launched in Denmark by human rights activists nine years ago, to promote understanding and compassion among people of varying races, genders, lifestyles and religions.

Readers who want to learn about a certain topic meet people who have volunteered to be living books, and whose life experiences embody that subject. The human ‘book’ can answer tough questions and because of the face-to-face contact, can help the reader examine biases and stereotypes.

  • The concept of a Living Library was first developed by human rights activists in Denmark, as a new way to address prejudice and stereotyping. The first Living Library was held in Denmark in 2000.
  • The Living Library concept has since spread around the world to public libraries, community events and university libraries.
  • Augustana Campus, University of Alberta is only the third post-secondary school in Canada to provide a Living Library experience.
  • Thirteen ‘living books’ are taking part in the event which runs March 23 to 27, 2009 at Augustana Campus. The many topics include sexual abuse, racism, autism and surviving two world wars.
  • The concept of the Living Library falls closely in with Augustana Campus’s mandate to challenge students to consider life’s “hard” issues, think critically and actively engage as citizens. The event will also increase information literacy on campus through the seeking and assessment of additional information as a result of the conversations.
  • The theme for Augustana’s Living Library is ‘Growing with people, growing in community, growing our world.’

More information, as well as a list of book topics, is available at:

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