Living Library lives on!

Lismore MP Thomas George was so impressed with Lismores Living Library, which he officially opened earlier in the month, that he agreed to be one of the books at a future library session.

The Living Librarys launch was such a success and inspired so much positive feedback that organisers have now decided to make it a regular event on the first Friday of every month.

The aim of the Living Library is to bring people into contact with someone they wouldnt meet in their ordinary day-to-day life, to break down barriers and dissolve stereotypes.

People can check out a living book for a half hour chat, and ask questions about that persons life.

Books that were available to be checked out at the official launch included a gay man, a Catholic nun, people living with disabilities (both physical and intellectual), a Muslim convert, someone living with HIV and a Sudanese refugee.

The concept was started in Denmark and has been run throughout Europe with much success, however, Lismore is the first Australian city to adopt the idea.

Sabina Baltruweit, one of the organisers, said people were really fired up after the first session.

Because of the current political climate I think people are hanging out to experience something like this to break down barriers, she said. And the one-on-one contact is really rewarding.

Thomas George said as the son of Lebanese immigrants the project particularly resonated with him and it was one of the biggest honours of his life to be asked to be patron of the organisation.

Sabina said as well as the regular monthly sessions it was envisioned that the Living Library would go into schools and other places by invitation and they also wanted to take it to big events like the Lismore Show and down the track, possibly the Woodford Folk Festival.

Sabina said they hoped the library concept would start in other places as well, and they had fielded numerous interstate phone calls from people keen to start their own libraries. Sabina and one of the books are even being flown down to Geelong as invited guests of a forum celebrating diversity.

The first regular meeting of the Lismore Living Library is on next Friday, December 1, at the Lismore Library in Magellan Street from 11am-2pm, and everyone is welcome.

If anyone wants to be involved in the library either as a book or as part of the organising committee should phone Sabina on 6688 6214 or Shauna McIntyre on 6625 0458.

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