TD Sparks uses the library once a week, and was intrigued when he saw an advertisement for Living Library volunteers. He explains, “It was painless to volunteer. I just clicked on the website.”
The Living Library works exactly like your local library – readers can borrow a “book”. The difference is: books in the Living Library are people, “living books,” with whom the reader can have a conversation.
This unique program enables people to ask the questions they have always wanted to ask and to share stories about their personal experiences in a safe and welcoming environment.
TD’s book title is Recovering from Addiction and Alcoholism: 17 years and counting and reflects his personal history as a former foster child and his journey through addiction recovery. TD says his story has two main features: it's about ending the patterns of a life of addiction and abuse, and it is also about discovering success in the performing art of magic and balloon sculpting. TD used magic as "occupational therapy" channeling the negative energy of his addictions into the positive energy of performing. Sixteen years later he is still clean and sober and performing has become his day job. One reader commented, “The honesty was overwhelming. The half hour was packed with useful information. I gained a deeper understanding of addiction. Wonderful program!” Another reader also gave TD a glowing review, “Wonderful experience, well-spoken, well-informed and the sort of book in which only the ‘real’ McCoy will do! He was ‘experience talking’. It doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks TD”
TD believes society should not turn their eyes away from any issue, or hide behind closed doors, because we will not be able to solve problems by not dealing with them. His willingness to share his struggles make his book quite popular and at the first Living Library program at Fish Creek he was ‘checked out’ all day. TD has even been interviewed by CBC Radio during a Living Library at the Central library and by Global TV. TD Sparks not only exemplifies the best qualities of a volunteer, he is also an amazing advocate for Calgary Public Library and all its services.
Thank you TD!