Living Library offers ‘stories of inspiration’ to students

Audiobooks are increasing in popularity around the world.

Instead of using your eyes to read over a story, an individual can now drive, cook, or even close their eyes, while retaining all of the same information as they would if they were reading a physical book.

The living library ‘stories of inspiration’ offers students at SAIT a similar experience to an audiobook.

This event was held as part of the First8 Week event at SAIT in  Heritage Hall on Jan 23rd.

Students and staff were invited to drop into either of the two living library sessions, held as part of the event.

The living library is a series of presentations. It is advertised as ‘renting out a living book.’

Individuals have the opportunity to learn the unique perspective of the speaker and are invited to ask questions afterwards.

Sarah Wallace, Pablo Zanetta, Victoria Maxwell and Billie Rae Busby all spoke on their life experiences and the journey they took them to reach this point in their lives.

This is the second year that SAIT has orchestrated the living library event.

Wallace lost 140 pounds naturally and was asked by the SAIT administration to share her story.

It was Wallace’s first time ever speaking in front of a crowd about her weight-loss journey.

“I’m an open book, and could talk about my weight-loss journey for hours, but this is the first time doing it in front of an actual group of people,” she said.

Wallace shared that her “three pillars” to success are to ‘get off your butt,’ learn about nutrition, and to stay accountable.

Journey of A Lifetime: Sarah Wallace waits for her audience to arrive at the living library presentation in Heritage Hall on Jan. 23. Wallace has lost 140 pounds in the last two years by changing her habits and lifestyle. (Photo by Vanessa Stewart/SAIT)

After spending some time in Europe, Wallace felt uncomfortable in her body.

It’s taken Wallace two years to get where she is today.

Along with following her pillars of success, Wallace found that juicing fruits and vegetables gave her that boost of energy that she needed to keep going on her journey.

Wallace also mentioned how she changed her inner monologue from negative self-talk to positive re-enforcement.

“One of my motto’s is, ‘it never gets easier, you just get stronger.’”

She found that paying more attention to her own health started to rub off on other people.

“Ever since I started my weight-loss journey, my husband eats a little healthier sometimes. You can really see the subtle way you influence people and their food choices,” Wallace said.

Another speaker, Pablo Zanetta, is an immigrant who was born under a military junta and grew up in Canada.

Zanetta is an advocate for inclusivity and diversity, which stemmed from his upbringing as a child of political exiles. He is currently a library technician at SAIT’S Reg Erhardt Library.

Victoria Maxwell is an actress and playwright and has worked with John Travolta and Johnny Depp, to name a few.

She now travels across North America speaking about her personal experience with psychosis, which includes the subject of coping with mental health in the workplace.

Billie Rae Busby is the marketing and communications co-ordinator for the SAIT Trojans. She is the founder of the ‘make some noise for mental health campaign’ which has won multiple awards for bringing attention and awareness to mental health.

She created this campaign after she experienced two deaths and was overwhelmed by grief.

Creating this campaign was her way of creating something positive from her losses.

Patrick Choi, a student at ACAD, heard about the living library event through a friend who attends SAIT and decided to come on our campus to “rent out a book.”

He said that with so many good speakers and such a variety of subjects presented, it’s hard to choose just one speaker to listen too.

“One thing that could be improved about this event would be if each presentation lasted about half an hour,” said Choi.

That way he could attend each speaker’s presentation.

Choi hopes to see this event take place next year so he can listen to the speakers he wasn’t able to catch this year.

About Vanessa Stewart 2 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Vanessa Stewart worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.