The Three Whales of the Live Library

15 February 2018

Every year, Docudays UA invites its audience to the Live Library. Every year, the Library offers unique experiences and frank conversations about everyday life, work, family. It is a space where the books are real people. The project’s curator Oleksandra Nazarova discusses her experience of reading “live books.”


“Live Library? Live?” This question was running through my head when I first received an offer to help with coordinating this project. How is it possible? I remember my library visits, you can only call libraries “live” in theory. And now I still keep thinking, why is the Live Library actually alive? What makes it the place where people have come for seven years to talk about themselves or ask questions from those who agreed to become “live books”?


Every year, in the last week of March, we manage to create a space where it becomes possible to brilliantly combine simplicity and informal spontaneity of conversation with the deep sense of personal stories, which is based on three whales: People. Atmosphere. Place.




A man who finally wakes up to the singing of birds, not bombs, after returning from the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine; former injection drug user who shares his story of being born again; parents of a transgender child who tell about their struggle, love and power. And these are only a few of the fascinating stories of resilience and courage, of love and acceptance, which are told by our books – the protagonists of the Live Library.




In order to speak about yourself, share personal stories and experience of trauma, you need great courage. You also need courage to ask questions. At the Live Library, there are no “inappropriate” topics, and the private conversation format allows the books and the readers to trust each other, even though they were strangers just recently.




Nothing formal – our welcoming librarians will help you decide whom you would like to talk to, introduce you, and then, sitting in an armchair, you will be able to drop the silence and see a living human being behind the stereotype, the same human being as ourselves.


Follow the announcements at the Live Library’s Facebook page – we have prepared many surprises for you!


Header Photo: Live Library during Docudays UA 2017



April 2021