"Our mission is to assist in the reformation of Ukraine consistent with European standards, as well as to introduce democratic values and develop civil society in Ukraine."

From the Statute of
the Center for European Initiatives

20.11.14 14:20

The Library of Alive Stories


To meet face-to-face with own stereotypes and find out how they can be wrong, - such opportunity had the visitors of “Human Library” on 16 November 2014 on the International Day of Tolerance. The event, conducted in a rather unusual way, succeeded completely. The organizer of “The Human Library” was Center for European Initiatives within the activities of Youth Peace Ambassador in Sumy under the support of Scientific Library of the Ukrainian Academy of Banking Affairs.

The aim of the event was to overcome prejudices towards representatives of different religious, ethnic and minority groups living in Sumy. In the “Library’s catalogue”, there were seven incredibly interesting “books”: “Monastery … on the ninth floor – the life of the contemporary catholic nun”, “The Participant of the antiterroristic operation”, “The African”, “Disability is not a sentence (disability is not an obstacle but an exam for a full life)”, “The Internally Displaced. The person from antiterroristic zone”, “HIV and Happiness are compatible?!”, “Western Ukraine”.

“The Human Library” was attended by 137 “readers”. As the visitors admitted, the event was interesting not only by its format but by the content of “the books”, which, due to their openness and sincerity, changed the attitude of “the readers” to many important themes in our society. Some of the “books” confessed that by telling a story, they finally felt the relief.

Before “the readings” the visitors were given the catalogue with a short description of “the books” together with the rules of the “library”. One of the main rules was: “The readers” should return “a book” in the same mental and physical condition in which they took it. It is forbidden to cause “a book” any damage, humiliate his or her dignity in any form. A “reader” is responsible for maintaining the condition of the book”.

The description of “the books” was built around stereotypes, which exist about the representatives of a certain group of people. However, it was not a task of “the books” to destroy the stereotypes or attempt to convince “the readers” in anything, they just told true stories of their lives and shared unique experience. “The readers” asked questions and made their own conclusions.

From the catalogue, “the readers” could select three books and got an opportunity to talk to an interesting person for 30 minutes.

“The Human Library” event is built around the concept of positive peace (where “peace” is not considered as absence of war but as just equivalent life for everybody).

It is the first event out of series of “Human Libraries”, which Center for European Initiatives plans to organize. Next “readings” will take place on 10 December 2014. Follow the news!