Gyvoji biblioteka (Library alive) is a non formal education method. It fosters mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for human rights. Gyvoji bibloiteka is made of gyvosios knygos (books alive), librarians and readers.
Knygos (the books) are people from vulnerable social groups who feel discrimination and prejudices. They have a lot to tell the ones who want to know more about exclusion, separation, and discrimination.
A reader (it can be a passerby or specially selected participant) is met by the librarian – a volunteer which has special training. He can prepare the reader for “reading”, explains basic rules and helps to select a book from the library. The reader might have doubts – how am I going to communicate with the book? What am I going to ask, how he/ she is going to react? „Before I met a gypsy I was anxious – I don’t like gypsies, what are we going to talk about? Only after meeting a guy with a warm, welcoming smile I changed my mind” – one of the reader’s experiences in Gyvoji Biblioteka.
The act of reading is actually an openhearted talk between the book and the reader. He can ask questions that he cares about. The reading becomes a cozy environment to meet people from vulnerable groups. The librarians supervise the process. The reading usually takes about 15-25 minutes (although the duration it is not limited). One can easily see a change in the reader after reading is over – he has a lot to overthink. Sometimes the reader and the book exchange their contacts or become friends. The reading demolishes the walls of ignorance and fear and helps to develop tolerance as well as mutual understanding.
The method used by Gyvoji Biblioteka is enlisted into the European Council youth human rights development program. The method attracted a lot of attention worldwide. It started off in 2007 as a part of the European Council campaign „All different – all equal”. Since then, the importance of Gyvoji Biblioteka grew non-governmental, educational and other institutes.
The obvious benefits of Gyvoji Biblioteka foster us to maintain it’s continuity.