Living Library Explores Unique Stories, Diverse Lives

Living Library

(Nov. 9, 2017) – A student with learning disabilities. A transgender advocate. A successful attorney who overcame a childhood of poverty and violence. These are just a few of the community stories that were on display at the Living Library event at the USF St. Petersburg Nelson Poynter Memorial Library on November 14.

A Living Library provides visitors with the opportunity to “check out” and have a conversation with diverse individuals, hearing their stories of dealing with and overcoming adversity. At the event, more than 10 speakers were on hand to share their journey with students and members of the public, reliving memories and revealing intriguing information about their personal history.

“The saying goes you can’t judge a book by its cover, and it’s the same with people,” said Tony Stamatoplos, USFSP student success librarian. “By interacting with people you may not normally encounter, this event fosters diversity and explores issues of tolerance.”

A Living Library – sometimes referred to as a “Human Library” – have taken place in public places and spaces around the world in recent years. Like a traditional library, it seeks to offer engaging stories to visitors while they encounter new ideas and difficult questions. This is the second time USFSP hosted such an event.

“Our Living Library is just one of several events associated with Diversity Week (Nov 13-17), and like other events on campus it is focused on telling people’s stories,” said Camielle Crampsie, USFSP outreach librarian.

The Living Library was hosted by USFSP’s Nelson Poynter Memorial Library and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.