Libraries by the people, for the people : living libraries and their potential to enhance social justice

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Stewart, Kristine N. ; Richardson, Benjamin E. (2011)
  • Publisher: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, London Metropolitan University
  • Subject: dewey320 | dewey020

This think piece examines the benefits of living libraries and how their implementation carries the potential to enhance concepts pertaining to social justice from both a local and global perspective. A living library, in its most rudimentary form, provides an opportunity for a patron to have a conversation with another human being based on that person’s life experience. In this context, the person relating their life experience is considered a living book. Living libraries have the ability to become a reference service that provides multiple viewpoints on complex issues. They benefit the user by offering both an intellectual and emotional experience. In practice, the living library can enhance an understanding of various worldviews by disparaging stereotypes and engaging community conversations that give rise to an awareness of human dignity.
  • References (4)

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    Stiglitz, J.E. (2011, November 4) The Globalization of Protest, Project Syndicate: A world of ideas. [Online]. Available at: Trevina, M., Kanso, A., Nelson, R. (2010)Islam through editorial lenses: How American elite newspapers portrayed Muslims before and after September 11, 2001,Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research,3 (1) November 2010, pp. 3-17.

    Vårheim, A., Steinmo, S., and Ide, E. (2008) Do libraries matter? Public libraries and the creation of social capital, Journal of Documentation, 64 (6), pp. 877-892.

    Warren, N. (2011) An essential community element: Public libraries as public space, APLA Bulletin, 74 (3), [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 29 November 2011).

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