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Living Library at William & Mary Libraries

Find common ground through dialogue at the W&M Living Library.

Call for Living Library Storytellers

Do you have a life experience you're dying to share about with others? Have you ever felt unfairly judged because of your background or experience? Is there something about you that others might learn from?

If any of these questions resonate with you, we invite you to share your story at the 2024 Living Library at W&M Libraries, March 22, 3-7pm.

As a Storyteller, you will have the chance to share about a meaningful life experience that has shaped you with small groups of attendees, with the goal of creating dialogue, building bridges, or introducing new perspectives. These can be grand, epic tales or more ordinary life lessons; we believe that stories worth sharing live inside everyone.  

Whether you're a W&M student, staff, faculty, or a member of the Williamsburg community, we welcome you to apply.

Are you ready to share your story? Apply to be a Storyteller by Monday, February 19. 

All Storytellers will receive a t-shirt and refreshments; parking passes for community members may be made available. 

Questions? Contact us or visit our information page for Storytellers. Not sure yet what a Living Library is? Read more about this initiative below. 

What is a Living Library?

The Living Library concept borrows from traditions like NPR's The Moth Radio Hour, TEDx Talks, and the Human Library Organization's events sharing "human books." The goal of the Living Library at W&M is to foster connections, celebrate diversity, and allow attendees to find unity through the power of conversation and active listening. 

During the event, Storytellers are stationed throughout the space, ready to share their stories with a small group of attendees within a 20-minute time slot. Attendees are able to select which Storyteller they'd like to listen to based on the Storyteller-provided title and description of their story. On the hour and half-hour marks, Storytellers launch into their tales, while also allowing time for reflection, questions, and conversation within the given time period.

Then, Storytellers get a quick chance to rest before the process begins all over again. 

To ensure the best dialogue possible, and to ensure that stories are treated with the care they deserve, attendees and Storytellers are given ground rules for the event. Our hope is at all participants leave with a richer perspective on our community and our world, regardless of their mindset at the start of the event, and that Storytellers feel heard, affirmed, and respected.