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Living library at Lismore campus


Brigid Veale
19 October 2007
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would be like to convert to Islam, be a 21st century grandmother or have a kidney transplant, you’ll soon have the chance to find out.

These are just some of the ‘living books’ that will be available when the highly-successful Living Library project comes to Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus on Wednesday, October 24.

Hosted by the University Library and the Thinking Diversity - Beyond Tolerance Project, in co-operation with the Lismore City Library and Lismore’s Living Library Committee, the Living Library will provide an opportunity for all members of the public to hear the stories of a diverse range of people including staff, students and members of the wider community.

Beyond Tolerance Project co-ordinator Soenke Biermann said the Living Library project was first introduced in Lismore last year and was now being rolled out across Australia.

“This is the first time it’s being done at an Australian university and we are excited about the opportunity to show the different faces of Southern Cross University,” Mr Biermann said.

The Living Library offers the chance for people to have half-hour conversations with ‘living books’ – people with diverse identities and interesting stories to tell.

“We will have around 15 living books. The idea is to create an understanding of people beyond the stereotypes and labels. It allows people to share their stories in a personal conversation,” he said.

The subjects available on the day will include: ‘Indonesian Muslim’; ‘21st Century Grandmother’; ‘Life from a Stranger - The Ultimate Gift’; ‘The Many Faces of Dr Parr’; ‘Third Culture Kid’; ‘In Search of Myself’; ‘Coming Home’; ‘Life in a northern town – four generations on the Northern Rivers’; ‘Pacifism in Action’; ‘Italian refugee’; ‘Aboriginal Community’; 'Vision Impairment’; ‘Muslim’; ‘Sabina’; and ‘Adopted’.

Mr Biermann said it was hoped that the Living Library, which is run each month at the Lismore City Library, would also become an ongoing event at the University.

Southern Cross University library services manager Craig Littler said: “We are very enthusiastic about being involved in such a dynamic, interactive learning experience, which is building on the great work already done by Lismore City Library.”

All members of the public are invited to experience the Living Library at the Lismore campus library (A block), from 10am to 2pm, on Wednesday, October 24.