The IncludeMe Good Practice Guide also includes informal types of mediation. One example is the Living Libraries in Spain. This is a program where authentic human beings are the books. Living Libraries want to fight against prejudices and stereotypes through interpersonal dialogue, focusing on the vital stories of their main characters. The program allows for one-to-one conversations on matters of diversity, such as LGBTQI+ and migrant living experiences, in an open and safe environment. The talk is triggered by curiosity and becomes a deep personal experience, resulting in emotional responses, self-reflection and increased knowledge and understanding.
The program consists of three-part, 2-hour sessions, where participants have 20 minutes to “be a book”. By “being a book” participants tell their stories and experiences to another person.
The three parts of the program include:
- preparing participants who will be books;
- carrying out the activity, with face-to-face talks between “the book” and other participants, one at a time;
- the closing moments where facilitators discuss the feelings triggered and the experience with “the books” and other participants.
Participants targeted in this initiative are the general public, students (at the primary, secondary and university levels), and health professionals.
Inspired by the Living Library initiative carried out in Denmark, this program is conducted by ACATHI mainly in Spain, in Barcelona and in the city’s metropolitan area. Find out more at: https://biblioteca.acathi.org.