Building Bridges Toolkit

The Toolkit was designed to collect and share the know-how on voluntary projects involving people seeking or who have recently found refuge, as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. The collection of guidelines, methods and case studies is non-exhaustive and should simply foster your own inspiration and support you in implementing projects on the topic. The creation of the Toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects in the field. It was coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Útilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of the Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.

METHODS AND TOOLS serve to support your work on the topic of refugees and migration with different target groups.


Reducing prejudices through open dialogue!

    Time needed: 3 hours, preparation: 1-3 months
    Objectives / aim: Reduce prejudices and breaking stereotypes through open dialogue
    Level of Difficulty: hard and time consuming
    Resources needed: venue, tables, chairs, «living books», library guides, list of titles, clock, name tags
    Number of participants: 7-12 Living Books, 2-3 Library Guides and the library visitors
    Contact / Source: SCI Switzerland

    What the event looks like: Living books sit at tables. Visitors get to read the titles of the books and choose one person to talk to. There can be more than one reader listening to the same book at the same time. Change of book happens for example every 15 or 30 min.

             – Tables and chairs: 1 „station“ per book
             – A list of the titles of the living books, so that people can have an overview of all books
             – Clock to keep track of time
             – Name tags for the living books to put on their tables
             – Snacks and drinks for the living books and library guides



    1. Get acquainted with the idea of the living library so that you can explain it to the people you want to participate as living books.

    2. Plan the budget, find a place and fix the date and time for the event.

    3. Find living books: contact local asylum seekers, refugees as well as networks and organizations working in the field.

    4. Make advertisement for the event, inform the media. 

    5. Keep the Living Books up-to-date and meet them 30 min-1 hour earlier on the day of the event to give them a last-minute briefing about the event and what is expected from them.



      • Personal contacts are the most efficient way to find living books – ask also the people you’ve already found to give you suggestions for new books (interesting people often know interesting people and can persuade them to join 😀 ).
      • The original idea of the Living Library is to keep the book titles very short – only 1-2 words like „Immigrant“, „Muslim“ etc. so that the „stamp“ on or the prejudices against that person are clearly stated.
      • Remember: The Living Library is all about sharing personal stories and dialogue!
      • SCI Switzerland actively asks visitors to support the event with an amount of money they feel comfortable with and has been able to cover the cost of food and drinks for the living books with these contributions.
      • Ask for more tips from SCI Switzerland!


      • Reference / original source of the method:
        Human Library UK
      • SCI CH Human Library video on Youtube (First minute in English):


      You can share your experience, observations, tips and tricks, pictures etc. by uploading for instance a method or a case study to the Building Bridges Toolkit. As this Toolkit is a work in progress to which all involved parties are invited to contribute, we would also be very grateful for your support and contribution in order to inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.