The Living Library or Human Library started in 2000 at the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was organized by a youth organization called “Stop the Violence.” Their goal was to challenge stereotypes, encourage dialogue, and build positive relations among community members. It has since spread globally, with events in over 70 countries under the banner “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.” It is a personal way to promote mutual understanding and break down barriers, real or perceived, within a local community.
Taking place on the Tulane Uptown Campus, individuals volunteer to be “books” and attendees become “readers” who check out a book, meaning they will sit with the volunteer to hear their story. The event will be open to Tulane affiliates and our local community as both readers and books to tell their stories. The event takes place in the Pocket Park of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life (LBC) on Friday March 15 (2pm-5pm). Food and refreshments will be provided to volunteer books, and staff and event volunteers will be present to facilitate.
Volunteer books will come from all walks of life, and represent the diversity of Tulane and the greater New Orleans community. The event provides a platform for an individual to speak to their diverse personal and intersectional experiences, such as age, class, culture, ability, lifestyle, race, profession, religion, interests, sexuality, hobbies, gender, and/or any other aspect of their life. As we come together to listen to the stories of those around us, we hope to contribute to the Tulane experience by working to celebrate the intricate nature of the individuals around us while connecting community members on a deeper level through those stories – two distinct goals of President Michael A. Fitts’ University Master Plan. Additionally, “The Power of Your Story” theme draws direct inspiration from Forum Tulane as the Living Library moves beyond stereotypes and empowers living “books” to take control of their own story and share it on their terms. Each of our stories has the power to change the world and each of our stories provides real life context into “how power operates in our individual lives, communities, cultures, political systems, and economic structures.”
We are so glad you asked!