Why not borrow a person

Bojan Kupirović says he enjoyed being a book in a living library event.

You can always borrow a book but in a Living Library event you can do better. A real person serves as a book and shares knowledge about her country. Let’s give voice to one of the books – Bojan Kupirović from Croatia.

First Living Library event took place on May 4th in Joensuu. What did you find the most surprising?
I realised that all the countries have almost the same problems. We have different culture, languages and rituals but problems of the ordinary people are the same. Politicians are holding the power and getting richer and richer. They control the situation and the ordinary people can do nothing. But the good thing is that we are humans, we are the same. The differences don’t exist when you just talk with a normal person.

”The differences don’t exist when you just talk with a normal person.”

There are some influencial people that manipulate people and create fears. In my opinon all wars are unnecessary. People, are similar. We have the same needs and dreams.

Let’s focus on one particular presentation. It is Poland that has been presented directly after Croatia. Have you discovered something new?
I learned something. Poland has similar problems like Croatia, especially with the religion. Church controls the sexual education, the contraception and tells people how they should vote. In fact they sometimes sound nationalist. We both have complicated relations with Russia. And even our languages are quite similar.
The thing that I didn’t know before is that Poland has the last untouched forest in Europe – Białowieża. I learned that Chopin is consider sometimes Polish and sometimes French. We have a similar situation with Nikola Tesla. He said he was Serbian but his country was Croatia.
I want to visit Poland and see all its castles. Especially the Wawel Castle in Cracow with the amazing dragon.

Unfortunately very few people attended the event. Do you know why?
Maybe they had classes or they didn’t understand what the living library is. We uploaded some photos so maybe they will check them out and get more interested.

”Reading books is cold and not intimate, but a living library is personal”

If at least one person learns something it is worth it. There is always a lot of noise but living library helps mediating it. You can meet a real and honest person, even if she sometimes might be biased.

Do you think that this kind of event should be repeated in the future?
Definitely. Every semester. Reading books is cold and not intimate, but a living library is personal. We can learn more and have fun. And you meet new people.
To sum up, this event helps us to become bigger persons. ESN did a good job.

Aleksandra Stalmach, text & photo