Book Conversation With a Community Member

New Living Library Program Offers Face-to-Face Conversations With Specially Selected Community Members
Posted on 02/12/2019
Barbara HarveyLibraries have always been a place to meet and connect with resources. Now through the new Living Library Program at Manatee Libraries, customers will have the opportunity to check out and converse with specially selected community members in 20-minute intervals.

Manatee Libraries has been booking people who offer first-hand knowledge of a topic, such as a social, educational or health issue.

Glenda Lammers, Interim Library Services Manager, hopes connecting customers to a living resource will promote a deeper understanding of each person’s life experience and perspective, prompting customers to ask their own questions.

“The experience each person is willing to share through face-to-face conversations can bring more understanding and foster more active reading and discussion,” said Lammers.

Palmetto Library is the first of Manatee Libraries’ six locations to roll out the program, beginning with Barbara A. Harvey, educator and former School District of Manatee County Board Member on Tuesday, February 19, from 6 to 7:40 PM. A retired African-American teacher who has been active in Manatee County since 1961, Harvey has a passion for Civil Rights and experienced integration in Manatee County Schools. She served on the School Board for 16 years and is a co-founder of Educational Consortium Consultants, Inc., which provides after-school enrichment for students in Palmetto. Manatee’s newest elementary school in Parrish will be named in her honor.

The other scheduled conversations are as follows:

Tuesday, March 19, breast-cancer survivor, Madison Moyer, 6 to 7:40 PM.

Tuesday, April 9, Tom Tryon, Opinion Editor at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 6 to 7:40 PM. 

Space for each night of conversations is limited to 5 participants. To reserve a 20-minute conversation, call 941-722-3333 or e-mail Megan Robinson.

Numerous libraries world-wide have implemented similar “people check out” programs, starting in the year 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the launch of the Human Library, an international organization and movement which is currently active in over 80 countries.

Please contact Kelly Foster, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, at 941-748-5555, x6307, or for additional information.

About the Manatee County Public Library System: The Florida Library Association’s 2016 Library of Year and two-time Innovation winner, the Manatee County Public Library System supports the County’s growing community and visitors through a wide range of educational and technological resources and programs at six facilities in downtown Bradenton (Riverwalk), the east county region, the south county area, Holmes Beach, Palmetto and Ellenton. This past year, Manatee Libraries was visited by nearly 850,000 customers who made use of its resources over 3.9 million times (a record high). Downloads of their digital ebook/eaudio/movies have continued to double each year, while technical training and computer assistance were up 16%. The 47,000 customers who attended their wide variety of informational and educational programs and events reflect an increase of 130% since 2006. Please contact Kelly Foster, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, at 941-748-5555, ext. 6307, for any additional information, or visit and follow them at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @manalibraries. For more information about Manatee County Government, call 941-748-4501 or visit, or twitter @ManateeGov