The Syracuse University Libraries hosted a Living Library event on Tuesday, April 2 from noon to 5 p.m. in Bird Library. During this event, “living books” representing a wide range of cultural backgrounds and life experience shared their stories in conversation with individual “readers.” Based on previous popular Human Library events, the Living Library is an event that encourages people from different backgrounds to talk with and learn from each other in a safe and supportive environment. This event is typically held in April, the same month in which National Library Week occurs.

Living books—SU faculty, staff, and students from a variety of campus departments and programs as well as others from the local community—engaged in one-on-one conversations for 20 minutes at a time. Living books shared their experience on a variety of topics, including immigration, Zen practice, surviving abuse, cancer, and therapy dogs.

The event welcomed 17 living books and over 50 “check outs” by attendees from across the SU and surrounding community. This year’s living book collection featured students, alumni, faculty, and staff from across SU, some “ILLs” from SUNY Upstate Health Sciences Library, and even a therapy dog! Living book participants and event attendees alike reflected on their positive experience at the event, including the following responses:

 ·         “This event helped me feel more comfortable trying something new and talking to strangers. It’s also a unique perspective on storytelling.”

·         “[I learned my living book’s] way of thinking positive and chasing her dream. Her energy really inspires me and lets me feel positive and energetic, which is exactly what a stressed PhD student needs.”

·         “Here I was thinking that my purpose here is to inspire my reader(s) only to experience inspiration for myself. This is life-giving and refreshing!”

·         “The feedback from both my readers have me hopping and skipping and totally inspired to do this work on a deeper level.” 

For more photos of the event, check out the SU Libraries Living Library 2019 Flickr album.

The event is offered in partnership with the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS), Disability Cultural Center, Hendricks Chapel, LGBT Resource Center, the Library and Information Science Student Association (LISSA) at the School of Information Studies, the Office of Learning Communities, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, and the Slutzker Center for International Services.

The Living Library is open to the campus community and no preregistration is required. However, participants can reserve some of our living books in advance for a specific time, if desired, by completing the form on this page by April 1: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040c4da8ad2eab9-syracuse. If you have difficulties using this form or wish to sign up via e-mail, please contact askasowi@syr.edu or tanantac@syr.edu.

This event is one of several Living Library events being planned throughout the region, with support from the Central NY Library Resources Council (CLRC).

For more information, visit http://researchguides.library.syr.edu/livinglibrary.