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Living library: challenges of the method

Tanja Veber (2016) Living library: challenges of the method. Diploma thesis.

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    Abstract

    Living library is a method of which the main purpose is raising awareness and educating on values and human rights and stimulating a discussion on prejudice and stereotypes in society. The difference between a living library and a regular library is in the fact that the books here are people. These are individuals from diverse social groups with interesting life stories that often face discrimination and are ready to share their life story with the visitors of a living library through the establishment of a dialogue we call reading. In the theoretical part of this thesis we get acquainted with the living library method, its origin and functioning in Slovenia in detail. We also view the whole method critically through a spectrum of theories on discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, and social (in)equality and work methods such as youth work, project work, and volunteering. The research presented in the empirical part is based on an action research which included the volunteers of the Živa knjižnica v Mariboru (Living Library in Maribor) composed of two focus groups, short interviews and the practical implementation of a living library. With the first focus group we define the purpose of living library along with challenges and dilemmas we face with its implementation basing on a critical analysis of the method and our experiences. On these foundations we prepare an idea for a modification of one of the living library elements – the book sheets in the book catalogue. It is a case of a shift from exposing the stereotypes that apply to the stigmatised individuals or social groups to presenting peoples’ life stories. The set modification is carried out in practice at a living library under the auspices of Mladinski kulturni center Maribor (Youth Cultural Centre Maribor) and after the realization we collect feedback on the effect of the modification on living library participants with different roles. With the second focus group we evaluate the applied modification, its effect on the relationships and team dynamic and provide guidelines for the work ahead. We learn that the applied modification was a success and come to a key finding that it is more important how the team of living library organizers defines purposes, aims, and messages behind it than how book sheets are set. In this research we come to a conclusion that for the current team of the Živa knjižnica v Mariboru it is important to present individuals’ life stories and with that show how all people and their stories are important and worthy to be heard. However, many unanswered questions, dilemmas, and challenges that can be a starting point for further studies on the theme of living library remain.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: living library, Maribor, action research, discrimination, stereotypes, prejudice, book catalogue, life stories
    Number of Pages: 87
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    red. prof. dr. Bojan DeklevaMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11267145)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 3993
    Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2016 11:24
    Last Modified: 25 Oct 2016 11:24
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/3993

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