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Living Library

Find common ground through dialogue at the W&M Living Library by checking out human “books” and hearing a significant story from their lives.

2019 Book Descriptions

Book titles appear in alphabetical order.

2 for 1: living with intersecting identities: Growing up and living around the State of Virginia, I have been in a unique position as someone who is both gay and Jewish. Through meeting others who have not met a gay or Jewish person (let alone someone who is both gay and Jewish) I have had the opportunity to teach others about both the communities I am a part of. I have also had the opportunity to educate others, and learn more about the state of Virginia.

The Belief of a Holocaust Survivor: I experienced the Holocaust as an inmate in a slave labor camp. I managed to escape and joined the anti-Nazi underground movement in Hungary where I helped save other Jewish lives. I then lived in Czechoslovakia under yet another oppressive regime, that of Joseph Stalin, for nearly ten years before arriving in the United States as a refugee in 1958. Though for decades I stayed silent about my experiences, I’ve come to recognize my duty to tell others of what I went through. I believe that a world view based on solid knowledge is the best safeguard against revisiting the horrors of the past.

Crossing Oceans: My family and I immigrated from Bogota, Colombia to the United States in 2016. That fall, I began my journey as a freshman at William & Mary. Although at first, I struggled with the challenges of adapting to a new culture and missing the familiarity of my home country, eventually I found my place within this vibrant scholarly community. Come and learn more about my story!

Following Footsteps in the Camino: After reading the Smithsonian magazine in 1994, I took my first pilgrimage from Leon to Santiago. That was the "hook" that brought me back on this pilgrimage 6 times. I always walked alone, didn't carry a cell phone, etc. as a pilgrim these were items to be left at home. Once, In a small village, I stopped to buy some food, in "Spanglish" the owner and I chatted about my travels. She then offered her home as a place to stay that night instead of the hostel about which I had asked. These wonderful experiences continued to happen throughout my journey. Personal experiences with all kinds of folks, beautiful countryside, following the "shell", and finding each day an adventure, sometimes a challenge and always interesting.
After reading the Smithsonian magazine in 1994, I took my first pilgrimage from Leon to Santiago. That was the "hook" that brought me back on this pilgrimage 6 times. I always walked alone, didn't carry a cell phone, etc. as a pilgrim these were items to be left at home. Once, In a small village, I stopped to buy some food, in "Spanglish" the owner and I chatted about my travels. She then offered her home as a place to stay that night instead of the hostel about which I had asked. These wonderful experiences continued to happen throughout my journey.Personal experiences with all kinds of folks, beautiful countryside, following the "shell", and finding each day an adventure, sometimes a challenge and always interesting.After reading the Smithsonian magazine in 1994, I took my first pilgrimage from Leon to Santiago. That was the "hook" that brought me back on this pilgrimage 6 times. I always walked alone, didn't carry a cell phone, etc. as a pilgrim these were items to be left at home. Once, In a small village, I stopped to buy some food, in "Spanglish" the owner and I chatted about my travels. She then offered her home as a place to stay that night instead of the hostel about which I had asked. These wonderful experiences continued to happen throughout my journey.Personal experiences with all kinds of folks, beautiful countryside, following the "shell", and finding each day an adventure, sometimes a challenge and always interesting.

From Poland to Israel, to NYC to WMBG: Relocating or emmigrating from Poland to Israel to NYC too WMBG. Changing circumstances, objectives, adjustment and appreciations to each.

From Puerto Rico to USA: I want to tell my story. I was born in Puerto Rico. I moved to the USA was I was 12. I want to share my story of growing up in the United States, my challenges, achievements and downfalls. Teaching others about Diversity!

The Invisible: I was diagnosed with predominantly inattentive ADHD halfway through my sophomore year of high school. I'd like to tell the story of how that diagnosis changed my life and what it meant for me; why my ADHD went unnoticed for so long (because I'm a girl with the inattentive type, twice-exceptional, and invented coping mechanisms which worked well enough for a long time until they suddenly didn't anymore); what living with ADHD looked like pre-diagnosis versus what it looks like now; what my strengths are due to my ADHD; and how stereotypes and jokes about ADHD can hurt people with ADHD.

The Metamorphic Journey: The Metamorphic Journey: Obstacles are temporary setbacks. Through perseverance, one can still achieve their dreams. This story is about transforming from a teen mom to doctor to senior higher education administrator. The author uses experiences from her personal and professional journey to inspire and empower others to be their best selves. Using the analogy of a butterfly's transformation, the author is able to take the audience through her journey to greatness while encouraging them to do the same. Most importantly, she is able to share stories where servant, authentic, and transformational leadership principles have been her guide.

My husband became my wife: After 16 years of marriage, my husband told me they recently had figured out that they prefer women's clothing. Six months later she told me she was now sure she was a woman. Three months later she told our teenage son, started transitioning, and 7 months later came out publicly, which was one and a half years ago. Now I, who identify as straight, am married to a woman. I have been championing her self discovery at the same time as trying to adjust to my relationship, and certainly the perception of it, changing.

Patawomeck people, then and now: Our life as it was in colonial time to present. History of our Tribe. How our story shaped Stafford County and how without our being English friendly there may not have been a Jamestown.

Relating to Your Boomer Grandparents: Your Boomer Grandparents were most likely born in the 1940s or early 1950s. Therefore, they were raised by parents who experienced the Depression and WWII. The lasting impact of those events also affected how they raised their children: your grandparents and their life perceptions. There are contradictory views of the 1950s and 60s that include: images of the “good old days” as portrayed “Happy Days” or “Grease;” the fear of Nuclear annihilation as a result of the Cold War; the challenges of the desegregation of the United States; and the Space Race. Looking back fifty years, it is hard for those of us who lived through it to believe the circumstances that we lived with each day; and, I think, nearly impossible for later generations to comprehend the fear and dread the future held during such events as the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Talk to your Boomer Grandparents, hear their thoughts about growing up in the 1950’s and 1960s. If you don’t, someday you will wish you had.

Stocking the River: When I was a child my elementary school was beside the local river. Every year the fishery would stock the river and they teachers would bring us all out to watch the fish get put in the river. The workers would bring the buckets by us so we could see all the different sizes and types of fish they were stocking.

You See Me. You Hear Me. But are you Listening?: Visible but not fully acknowledged as a credible, worthy member of a society based on a sometimes blinding construct called fear. Which fuels societal -isms like racism, classism, sexism, ageism – that all of us are born into, but only some of us are brave enough to resolve. Explains my years as a professional struggling for recognition and respect in southern based organizations BEFORE W&M.