Living Library Comes Alive at Mount Royal University: Black Diamond Resident One of the “Living Books”

Living Library Comes Alive at Mount Royal University: Black Diamond Resident One of the “Living Books”


MRU Living Library eventCALGARY —Mount Royal University brought together a diverse collection of speakers Jan. 27 for its first-ever Living Library event.

The Living Library functioned much like its traditional namesake — only the stories were told by people, instead of by books.

Attendees checked out real-life books with personal experiences ranging from genocide to gang life and from breast cancer to vision loss. Each face-to-face encounter lasted about 15 minutes, then the book was put back into the living collection.

The inaugural tell-all event was curated by Mount Royal’s Diversity and Human Rights Office in partnership with the Library. It furthers the University’s ambitions of fostering new social interactions, supporting positive mental health initiatives and strengthening cross-campus collaborations.

“Everybody has a story to tell,” said Monique Verhoef, Diversity and Human Rights co-ordinator at Mount Royal, who helped organized the event. “The Living Library allows those stories to come alive in deep and meaningful ways.

“This is another example of how Mount Royal University sets the standard for personalized learning experiences.”

Roberta Lexier, an assistant professor in the Department of General Education, was one of a dozen volunteers who served as a human book. At the event, Lexier shared her many experiences as an activist, including her involvement with petitions, protests and research.

“The Living Library offers an amazing opportunity to ‘read’ the stories of peoples’ lives in a different way,” said Lexier. “It connects our Mount Royal University community in unique and innovative ways and it encourages us to find those experiences that unite us together.”

As Mount Royal prepares to open the Riddell Library and Learning Centre, initiatives such as the Living Library are important to cultivating a modern-day learning environment. When it opens for use in fall 2017, the new facility will be a technology-rich environment that further inspires learning, exploration and the creation of new ideas.

More information on the Living Library event, including individual profiles, can be found at

Editor’s Note:

Black Diamond’s Zoe Slusar was one of the volunteers in the program. She shared her experiences as a voice actress (see Boy’s Voice in a Girl’s Body). Check out the Calgary CTV coverage here.

Mayor Nenshi at MRU Living Books event
Mayor Nenshi introduced the “living books” and spoke on what it means to be a community