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Living Library

Become A Book

Are you interested in participating in the Living Library as a Book? Please fill out the Expression of Interest form below.  

The Expression of Interest forms are due Friday, December 31 by 4:00pm.

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Evans (jennifer.evans@nic.bc.ca).

Advice for Books

  1. Be authentic and true to yourself. If you try to be someone else, it will likely show through.

  2. There may be many reasons why a Reader has chosen to ‘check out’ your book. Listening carefully to what they ask can help you understand why they chose you. A great place to start the conversation if neither of you know where to begin, is to ask the Reader what made them choose your story.

  3. In most cases, Readers at a Living Library event have come along because they are curious and want to learn about someone else’s experiences. However, they may feel unsure how to ask you questions or they may come with preconceived ideas that do not match your experience, due to their own prejudices or stereotypes. It can be useful to ask whether they have met someone like you, whether they’ve had similar experiences, what it is they’re interested in finding out. If you’re not sure what they’re asking, it can help to repeat back what you think you’ve heard, for example, “So, have I understood correctly, that you’re asking whether…….?”

  4. In some cases, a Reader may have come to ask your advice, thinking perhaps you are an ‘expert’ because of your experiences. Although you can offer a perspective on a situation based on your own experiences, it unwise to offer advice.

  5. In most cases Readers do not intend to discriminate or ask a question that shows prejudice. Try to stay open and ask how/why they have come to a certain conclusion. If a Reader starts to accuse you of being personally responsible for social problems or issues, try to remain calm and if you feel safe, offer your disagreement or change the subject. If a Reader starts to act or talk in an aggressive or volatile manner, or if you feel in any way unsafe, politely end the discussion and tell one of the organizers what happened.

  6. While Readers are attending the event to hear about the personal experiences of others, be clear with yourself about what information you are willing to share. It is okay to politely decline to answer a question if you think it is too personal.

  7. Conversations between a Reader and a Book are confidential, unless either share information that is covered under the exceptions outlined by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (see www.oipc.bc.ca), for example, if someone reveals that they intend to self-harm or harm another.

  8. You may get ‘checked out’ multiple times and have to repeat yourself. Try to treat each encounter as a fresh opportunity and avoid showing any frustration you might be feeling about having to answer the same questions multiple times. Remember that each Reader is hearing your story for the first time.

Thank you for agreeing to be one of the Books in our amazing catalogue!

These tips have been adapted from www.livinglibary.org, The Living Library Organiser’s Guide and the resources/advice kindly shared by the College of New Caledonia (www.cnc.bc.ca).

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