ALL - ABCittà Living Library


Strategy type (tool, event, training course, etc.)
Intercultural animation tool

Scope of the practice (local, national, international level)


When did it start/end?
Since 2011

Name of the organization

City and country
Milan, Italy


1. Describe your project briefly
A person who has become a "book" has in front of him/her another person who "reads" her, listens to her story. Human books are people subject to prejudice, because they are identified or forced into a category - usually minority and discriminated against - willing to share parts of their biography. The Living Library setting offers an appropriate space and encourages dialogue between people who otherwise would not meet. ABCittà has defined a particular method of Living Library (ALL - ABCittà Living Library), which is based on an intercultural approach and participatory planning; it presents itself first of all as a process of formation and change and insists on defining prejudice as a cultural object. Since 2011 the more than forty editions of ALL, have focused on sensitive places and have deepened the most diverse issues (detention, Roma culture, motor disability, mental health, ethnic-cultural differences, second generations, refugees ...). ABCittà uses Biblioteca Vivente as a tool for intercultural animation and social cohesion, training and diversity management actions in the companies.

2. What is the aim of the project? 
It's an innovative method to promote dialogue, reduce prejudice and foster mutual understanding.

3. Who is involved in designing process?
Normally, social and cultural operators, active citizens or administrators of specific territories are involved in the design of ALL: subjects who have an interest in promoting cultural change of perceptions about minority groups of communities. In addition, ABCittà technicians, trainers and experts of intercultural processes, facilitators of complex social processes, animators for social cohesion and experts of narrative and identity building processes are involved.

4. If you could change something, what would you change?
We wish to experiment ALL in different contexts, finalize its use for new purposes, diversify the territories of experimentation. We are also interested in developing more and more refined mechanisms to reach a wider and more diversified audience of readers.


5. How did the project impact on civil society? 
We note a value of a 'political' nature in the sense of an alternative social communication, as regards the themes of exclusion and social marginalization towards minorities. It is recognized that ALL is able to address complex and often controversial issues in a public and unconventional way without creating conflicts and social tensions.


6. How did you evaluate the project’s impact?
In addition to the impact on individuals already described every time we experience the use of ALL we notice a strong interest in the readers, the attraction of the public for the novelty of the experience, the permanence of the emotions aroused. In addition, people who lend themselves to become human books always testify to the impact of the experience on their lives; in many cases a strong utility in educational and therapeutic terms is also made explicit.


7. Is there anything else would you like to share with us?
ALL was born from the Danish idea of Human Library, but we are proud to have developed an additional model, scientifically based, described in some publications, because we are convinced of some assumptions that are fundamental to make the tool more effective in achieving its goals. We hope that our contribution, by formalizing ALL, can produce further cultural and methodological debate both in Italy and elsewhere.