an International Idea adapted to Local Settings


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"A stranger is a friend you haven't met yet."

Balbriggan Library and Fingal LEADER Partnership have teamed up to look at setting up a ‘Living Library’ project which will take place in November. The idea of a Living Library projected originally came from a Danish Youth organisation “Stop the Violence”. They ran a small scale project in conjunction with a local festival who housed the event and it was soon realised the potential was huge. It has since been ran in a much larger scale at places such as the Szignet festival in Budapest, The Rock in Rio event in Lisbon, the Northbridge Festival in Copenhagen and more. Energy and interest has grown rapidly as people realise the benefits of breaking down barriers to information and social interaction in such a simple format.

Living Library is an opportunity for intercultural learning and personal development aimed at people who usually have little access to or time for non-formal educational programmes. The project works with ‘Live Books’ who are volunteers from the community representing a stereotype. This could include a gay person, a lone parent, a migrant, a blonde or anyone who another person may have a misguided opinion on based upon one particular characteristic. People can then hire out their live books for a certain period of time which means they can sit and chat and ask questions which they never would have had the chance to before. Questions such as ‘What was it like for you to come out?’ or ‘When did you become blind?’ Do you know what colour looks like?’ can give a great insight into the lives of the volunteer. The idea is the renter will get information relating to the stereotype but also realised other qualities and skills the ‘live book’ has that shapes them as an individual.

The event will run in Balbriggan Library with all renters and live books in the same room to keep the atmosphere informal and safe as well as social and enjoyable. At the moment Fingal LEADER Partnership and Balbriggan Library are recruiting for volunteers who would like to be a ‘Live Book’ for the day. We have a list of suggested books but if you don’t fall into these categories and have a suggestion please do not hesitate to contact us as we would be delighted with new ideas. The list of volunteers being sought are; a person with a disability, a gay person, a member of the travelling community, a lone parent, a refugee, an asylum seeker, an older person, a person who has or had issues with mental health problems, a teenager and a blonde. The event will run in November for one Saturday morning. We will provide some training about what to expect and ensure that all volunteers have support for the event. If you would like to be part of this exciting event or would like more information, please contact Helen at 01 8020484 or Assumpta at 01 8704401.


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Human Library Event

Saturday 13th November 11.00am-2.00pm

The Dublin Innovation Festival November 10th-21st 2010 celebrates and promotes creativity and innovation in Dublin.
As part of this year’s festival Fingal LEADER Partnership and Fingal County Libraries have organised Fingal’s first ever Human Library event.

Now an international phenomenon, the Human Library is an innovative approach designed to promote dialogue, reduce stereotyping and encourage understanding. in a positive and humorous manner.

The Human Library works quite like a normal library – library members come to the library and borrow a 'book'- but with one major difference - the 'books' in the Human Library are human beings who are frequently confronted with assumptions and stereotypes.

These ‘books’ can be borrowed for 20 minutes for an informal chat in the library.

Human books on the day will include: a person with mental health issues, a gay person, an older person, a community volunteer, a refugee, a teenager, a blind person, parent of an autistic child and a Community Garda.

If you would like to take part in this event and borrow a human book please contact Balbriggan Library 01 8704401 or email
More information on the human library organisation can be found at