Don’t judge a book by its cover! (2005/2011)

The living Library Organiser’s Guide

The Living Library works just like normal libraries, where readers come, discuss topics and titles, and borrow books for a limited period of time. There is only one difference: The books in the Living Library are people, and the Books and the readers enter into a personal dialogue.

In particular, the books in the Living Library are people representing groups that often suffer from prejudice and stereotype and become victims of discrimination or social exclusion. In this library, Books cannot only speak, but they are able to reply to the questions of their “readers”. The Books can even ask questions and learn new things themselves. The methodology of the Living Library is part of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Education Programme.

The philosophy of this programme supports the view that human rights cannot be protected by legal texts alone. They need to be protected and encouraged by all. In order to guide citizens to understand their own human rights and the rights of the Others, the broader public must be made aware of the importance of human rights for the personal well-being of everyone.

The Living libraries seek to challenge prejudice and discrimination. “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” toolkit includes:
• Explanation of Living Libraries, including history and methodology
• Explanation of everything related to the organization and creation of a Living Library
• How to manage a Living Library, including budgeting, materials, promotion and evaluation
• Resources such as posters, library maps, brochures

*For more information and resources on Living Libraries, see the Human Library website and the Human Library Facebook page.
** Please, find both versions with free online access on links below. The 2005 edition is available in English, French, Danish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and Turkish.

• Council of Europe. Manuals and Handbooks. Council of Europe – official website:
• Council of Europe.Nick Little, Gülesin Nemutlu, Jasna Magic, Bálint Molnár. 2011. Don’t judge a book by its cover! The living Library Organizer’s Guide:
• Council of Europe.Ronnie Abergel, Antje Rothemund, Gavan Titley, Péter Wootsch. 2005. Don’t judge a book by its cover! The living Library Organizer’s Guide: