Come check out new stories in
Volume 7: Celebrating Community of the #RealLifeLibrary
at the Sequoya Branch Public Library on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Click here to confirm your attendance!
Do YOU have a story that you’d love to share? Sign up here to be a Real Life Library BOOK on March 23!
Upcoming Real Life Library events for 2019!
- Saturday, May 18 – In partnership with the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters – Verona Library, Madison, WI
- Late Summer/Early Fall – exploring partnership with area high schools and promoting various career pathways
Real Life Library
Here’s what our partners at Madison Public Library said:
Real Life Library organizers were an absolute pleasure to work with to bring this event to the Madison community. Their attention to detail and the thoughtfulness and care they put into planning and facilitating the event cannot be overstated. We already have another Real Life Library event planned for September  and we intend to both continue and expand the library’s partnership with WHOA! in the future. We strongly encourage you to bring Real Life Library to your community too!
Real Life Library Vision
A series of live events and a corresponding digital video library that provides an opportunity for people to listen to and learn from (Read) other people’s stories (Books)
Real Life Library Mission
Elevate wellbeing by building empathy, relationships, and community and connecting with community partners to create a diverse archive of people’s unheard stories
Real Life Library Background
Garrett Lee (founder, WHOA!) met with Madison Public Library (MPL) staff seeking to organize an event similar to humanlibrary.org. MPL staff were supportive of the idea and offered to help coordinate if Garrett was able to recruit a team to plan and organize the event. Garrett connected with Jennifer Smith and Kier Huelsemann to create a core organizing group and pilot the Real Life Library on Feb. 4, 2017 at MPL. Jordan Biagomala (owner of Mr. Origin) is a professional videographer that coordinates and records the Books’ videos. Real Life Library organizers planned with a Design Thinking mindset, getting feedback to build upon successes and overcome challenges encountered.
The Real Life Library is a well-organized package of event planning and promotion, participant recruiting and training, and video recording and publishing. Briefly, community members are vetted and selected as Books. The Books are required to attend storytelling and non-violent communication training in order to tell their story at the event and on video. The public is invited to come and check out and “Read” the Books by listening to and learning from their stories. At a later date, each of the Books are video recorded. Thus, each event creates a digital volume of Books, which will be published on the internet and on WHOA!‘s GoodPoint app.
Real Life Library Plan
We launched Real Life Library Premiere Event at the Madison Central Library on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, which was free and open to the public. Over 100 people attended and, based on participant feedback, the event was successful in meeting and exceeding its goals. We hosted the second and third volumes of the Real Life Library at the Madison Central Library on September 16, 2017 and March 17, 2018.
WHOA! organizers are exploring opportunities to sustain the Real Life Library financially. We aim to create more Real Life Library events in libraries, community centers, cafes, and other gathering spaces throughout the state of Wisconsin and beyond!
Our volunteers need your support to put on these free events!
Contact Real Life Librarians for more information.