Everyone has a story to tell though not everyone is willing or able to tell it. That’s why it takes both courage and imagination to volunteer to be a Living Book. But plenty of people are doing it and you can find out why when Scotland’s first Living Library opens in Edinburgh on Saturday 8 November.
So far we know of a poet, a policeman and a local politician from the Leith area who are all hoping to take part in the The Living Book project which is part of the Edinburgh Festival of Libraries running from 8-14 November throughout the city (and, you never, know, a few Leith Open Spacers might be among the books on offer).
This extraordinary, innovative project began in Denmark in 2000 with the aim of promoting understanding and communication. Since then the idea has spread through Hungary, Norway, Germany, Spain and Portugal to the UK. From Bradford this summer it now reaches Edinburgh and then moves on to Slovenia and Australia.
Basically it works by bringing people from all kinds of backgrounds face to face to learn about each other in the safe and welcoming atmosphere of a library. As in any other library, you can borrow a Living Book for an agreed period of time. The difference is that you can ask Living Books questions about their job, their culture, their hobby:whatever part of their life they have chosen to present.
“There is no such thing as stupid questions,” says the Living Libraries website. But you might just have to be prepared to confront your own prejudices or confound a few stereotypes.
So ‘read’ all about it at the Libraries Festival on Saturday 8th November, Adam House, Chambers Street between 10am and 4pm. Lots more information and pictures on the Living Libraries website. And take a look at this entertaining short BBC film about the Bradford project.