What is a Book? - Hearts & Minds Living Library
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What is a Book?

What is Hearts & Minds Living Library?

H&MLL is a program created by the Institute of Canadian Archives, modeled after the pre-existing concept of a Living Library. A Living Library is very similar to a public library full of books. You can check books out, enjoy them for a period of time and afterwards, return them. Books bring a wealth of genres, narratives, points of views. The Hearts & Minds Living Library viewpoint is that the same can be done with Books. 

What is a Book?

A ‘Book’ is actually a person. Much like any book you’d check out from a library, Books contain a universe of experience and narrative. And much like books with genres, people can identify themselves into multiple groups. A Reader borrows a Book in order to have the Book share their narrative with the Reader. A Book takes time out of their own life in order to share these experiences.

What is a Bestseller?

A Bestseller is a person who is at our event for a limited amount of time, featured in our Compassion Panel and Fireside Readings but not one-on-one Living Library sessions. Our current line up of bestsellers are:

What is a Reader?

A Reader is someone who takes out a Book; the recipient of the narrative between them and the Book. Each experience between a Book and a Reader is different. The role of the Reader can be dynamic; they simply can listen or also share their own experiences. The Reader much like a borrowed book must respect the person they are speaking with.


The Hearts & Minds Living Library aims to create a safe space for narratives between Books and Readers. This means constructively confronting and stopping oppressive behaviour and language. Discrimination based on any of the following is absolutely not tolerated:

  • race or culture
  • sexual orientation
  • gender or gender identity
  • age
  • (dis)ablility
  • economic/social class
  • religion
  • any other identity markers, accessibility needs

We are extremely excited for our H&MLL Compassion Catalogue Event on September 9th!

Click here if you are interested in becoming a Book.

Click here if you want to attend our event.