Youth - Young people building Europe

December 2005

Don’t judge a book by its cover! – The living library organiser’s guide

Author(s) : Ronni Abergel, Antje Rothemund, Gavan Titley, Péter Wootsch

ISBN 92-871-5766-9
No. of pages : 70
Price : € 8 / US$ 12

Order The Living Library

The Living Library works exactly like a normal library - readers come and borrow a 'book1 for a limited period of time. There is only one difference: the Books in the Living Library are human beings, and the Books and readers enter into a personal dialogue. The Books in the Living Library are people representing groups frequently confronted with prejudices and stereotypes, and who are often victims of discrimination or social exclusion. In this library, Books cannot only speak, but they are able to reply to the readers' questions, and the Books can even ask questions and learn themselves.

The Living Library methodology is part of the Council of Europe's youth programme on human rights education. The philosophy of this programme contends that human rights cannot be defended by legal texts alone. They need to be protected and fostered by everyone. In order to encourage citizens to think about their own human rights and those of the Other, awareness needs to be raised in the wider public about the importance of human rights for the personal well-being of all.