living books - Die "Lebende Bibliothek"

1st Prize 2008

Country: Austria

Region: Vienna

Fields of action: Non-formal education, Adult education, Migration

Project owner: Der Verein wurde im Jahr 2017 aufgelöst

Responsible person: Christian Hortulany (Kontaktdaten in der Projektbeschreibung sind nicht mehr aktuell)

What is it about?

“living books” portray roles such as an African storyteller, a physicist, a police officer, openly gay people, and a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. In other words, the project presents women and men who tend to trigger prejudices and be associated with stereotypes among the readers. As part of the Vienna-based project, these characters are open to questions and answers. The “readings” are held in a public space. The “live library” adapts to the space and situation and becomes a flexible, open and integrating dialogue-based event. During respectful encounters and open dialogues, very normal people from very different and often unfamiliar worlds have a chance to get to know one another. In 2008, “living books” were presented at a total of 24 events all round Austria. On September 30th 2016 living books took place for the last time. The project counts its success in 114 events – many times in cooperation with project partners; almost 10.000 visitors, about 2.000 “living books” and approximately 900 (mostly volunteer) co-workers.

Appreciation of the Jury

The jury awarded the project first prize for “making life easier” and for “capturing the public’s interest with respect and openness rather than dogma.”