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Human books in Fake For Real - Never judge a book by its cover

Tipo de actos: 
Event Category: 
Our Events
Adultos, Jóvenes
Lengua del acto: 
Dutch, English, French

Just like any normal library, books will be available to borrow, engage with and learn from.

Except in this case, the ‘books’, will be real people with a unique personal experience or perspective that they will share with you as a ‘reader’.

You will have the chance to engage with our ‘books’ in a 15 minute personal conversation and ask them questions that you normally wouldn’t be able to.

The personal conversations can help you to understand why some of our ‘books’ made certain choices in the past. These personal conversations help contribute to greater human cohesion and foster empathy.

You meet the ‘books’ in a special dialogue room as part of the temporary exhibition Fake For Real. In a one-on-one conversation, you can openly discuss their personal stories without condemnation. The setting of Fake For Real helps to give you an insight into the person you are talking to. In this way, we have created a place where people who would normally never talk, can find room for conversation.

The Living Library is a tool that seeks to challenge some of our thinking, and how we put the world into boxes. It works just like a normal library: visitors can browse the catalogue for the available titles, choose the book they want to read, and borrow it for a limited period of time. After reading, they return the book to the library. The only difference is that in the Living Library, books are people, and reading consists of a conversation.

The aim of the Living Library is to be able to talk to people that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet. It can be people with a different lifestyle or another background. The overall aim is to bring people together, to break down barriers, and bring communities together. Personal conversations can help to challenge an existing prejudice, eliminate discrimination, prevent conflicts and contribute to greater human cohesion across social, religious and ethnic divisions.

The Living Library provides a unique opportunity for individuals to connect with people they might not have the chance to speak to within their community, better understand the life experiences of others, and  challenge their own assumptions, prejudices and stereotypes. It provides a safe environment and encourages active and engaging conversations, so that people can develop a greater understanding of each other’s stories.

Background information:

Our Living Library is based on the successful Danish model by the youth organisation "Stop the violence" (2000) and has since spread around the world.

Borrowing rules and guidelines

  • Registration is necessary due to COVID regulations.
  • Your loan period will be limited to 15 minutes per ‘book’.
  • Please be respectful in your conversation and questions.
  • Understand that our ‘books’ have the right to decline answering a question or to quit the conversation at any time.
  • You cannot (video)record or photograph the ‘books’ or the Library.
  • Please read the ‘book’ introductions before choosing your ‘book’.

What books can you read?

  • Zilla spend a month in in her little studio in Amsterdam. Everybody was under the impression she was back-packing in south-east Asia. How did she fool everybody and why did she do it? (NL / EN)
    Registration for the event
  • Michel was part of a far-right wing movement in his youth and he believed in the conspiracy theories they shared. Why did he believe in them? Why did he join these groups? And what was the turning point? (NL / EN)
    Registration for the event
  • Maria is a journalist who has to deal with fake news on a regular basis. How does she cope with the spread of disinformation? How does she keeps her ground as a journalist in a world flooded with information? (FR / EN)
    Registration for the event


Image credit: Pete Ryan Illustrations