Living Library

Action for Peace #25

What happened?

The SCI Switzerland organized a Living Library, an event that provides a space for dialogue and exchange and is about breaking down stereotypes, builds understanding and reducing prejudice by sharing experiences on a personal level.

The topic was Peace, and all the “books” who participated had a connection with this topic. For example: a 90-year-old book spray-painted “Money for Guns Kills” on a wall in front of the National Bank of Bern and was arrested; a book that has worked as a mediator in remote village communities between army and guerrilla fronts, at the UN in New York; a “book” that works in humanitarian and peacebuilding projects in Guatemala, India, the Philippines and Sudan; a book that was in Swiss prison because he didn’t want to do de Civil Military Service…

With the dialogue between the “books” and the “listeners”, they want to better their understanding of peace in order to help create more inclusive and cohesive communities across cultural, religious, social and ethnic differences.

The event started at 6 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m.
• During the event there were “library guides” who were responsible for explaining the procedure of the Living Library to the participants when they arrived.
• The most important rule of the Living Library: mutual respect (between living book and participants). If a book feels a conversation is not happening in a respectful manner, can stop the conversation and inform the library guides about it. Living Books have the freedom to answer and not to answer certain questions.
• Every 30 minutes they rang a bell and the “readers” switched tables. There was a break at 7:30 p.m. for 15 mins, and then they continued the Living Library at 8:00 p.m. until 9 p.m. when the event ended.



18th of February, 2020 (18-21h)


Kaffe bar Wartsaal, Bern (Switzerland)


SCI Switzerland