These guidelines are to support designers and coordinators identifying important logistic aspects to consider before, during and after organising a Living Library event.

Organising the event

  • Plan the venue of the (public or closed) Living Library according to needs and capacity (see the Thematic Chapter on Living Libraries)
  • The choice of the venue/location should be strategic – according to the country/city of the LL. To make sure the venue is in a more populated area and has more local population which is the potential target of the event.
  • Ensure the conditions of accessibility and safety of the venue.
  • Set up a timetable. When are you planning the event, the dates and duration. Check if theLiving Library can be held on a special occasion (World Refugee Day,…) that will supportthe visibility of the action.
  • Specially for events in the public space, consider the expected weather and season when toimplement it. Keep in mind a second location as Plan B in case of bad weather.
  • Request and keep the written permissions for the use of the public space from localauthorities. Inform the local police when needed.
  • Ensure the working spaces for the preparation sessions of human books, librarians,facilitators, interpreters.
  • Motivate the team of volunteers, both locals and newcomers, who would engage with theevent.
  • Set clear tasks and a concrete calendar on the logistical issues that need to be in place for theLiving Library event.
  • Make the list and ensure the required materials and equipment (chairs, tables,information/welcome desk…)
  • Prepare the booking system for the reading sessions (online/flipchart)
  • Allocate a specific area/space for human books to rest and take breaks during the event.Provide the adequate facilities at the venue (W.C , accessibility for people withdisabilities…)
  • Plan the dissemination strategy in advance (see the Guidelines on Visibility)
  • Plan ahead of the costs of LL – perhaps fundraising is needed frompartners/government/local administrative services
  • Strategic selection of partners to ensure gender equality in the event. For example someorganisations deal with more female migrants/refugees, some with more male migrants/refugees.
  •  Create the Catalogue with information and a brief description of the human books.

Implementing the Living Library event

  • The day of the event, set up the equipment for the implementation of the living library (chairs, tables, information/welcome desk…)

  • Librarians and Facilitators are well identified and visible for external readers (common T-shirt)

  • Human Books and interpreters (dictionnaires) are well identified with name tags.

  • Get the stationary ready to be used (pens, paper, tape,..etc).

  • Indicate the facilities at the venue (W.C, catering…) Prepare Snacks and refreshments for the  whole team. Be ready to provide much water, especially to human books.

  • Before starting read again the roles with the whole team

    • Slots and timing for readings (organisers may consider different stories require
      different time)

    • Remind about the breaks between readings and a general longer break in the middle
      of the event for human books to rest and take a refreshment.

    • Natural flow of the storytelling (Narration – conversation – questions)

    • Reader limitations – not more than 2-3 readers per book, ideally keeping the one-one

    • Ensure the warm atmosphere and encouragement to all members of the team before

  • Opening the event:

    • Librarians make readers feel welcome to the event, presenting the Catalogue and
      recommending those books that may suit best the reader’s interest.

    • Readers are introduced with the Rules for the readers. In some cases you may ask
      readers to sign that they commit to respect these rules.

    • Librarians make sure that the readers are equally distributed among human books,  keeping the ratio.

    • If there is press taking pictures and filming all participants should sign the Consent  forms (each country may have a different policy).

  • Have a facilitator for every 2 to 3 human books – to direct the readers to the books and back. This person will also take feedback from the readers after the reading.

  • At the end of the reading session you may ask the readers to fill on an Evaluation form.

  • Care for both the team, human books’ and readers’ well-being

Evaluating the event

  • Organize a final event for the people involved – the books, librarians, organizers, facilitators. Have a conversation and ask for feedback from everyone and Celebrate the event.

  • Process all the evaluation forms from readers, human books, librarians, facilitators and all members of the team.

  • Have a meeting to evaluate the partners involved.

  • Report to all the stakeholders of the event (see the Guidelines)