Welcome To The Human Library
“Twelve human “books” have been selected to loan their stories to us, the “readers.” The goal of this moving experience is to listen to these compelling life stories, learn more about the lived experiences of each person from their unique perspective, confront social barriers, and develop a more enlightened worldview.” -President, Dr. David M.Stout
What is the Human Library?
The Human Library is an organization that began in Denmark in 2000 by Ronni Abergel, a Danish human rights activist and journalist, after he became interested in non-violent activism. It now has chapters (called depots) all over the world. In a Human Library, real people are “Books” that are on loan to Readers, giving Readers the opportunity to listen to their stories first-hand. Human Library events break down social barriers by providing a safe platform for individuals to challenge the stereotypes and prejudices that they may have.
“I had a theory that it could work because the library is one of the few places in our community where everyone is welcome, whether you’re rich or poor, homeless or living in a castle, professor or illiterate,” Abergel said in an interview with CNN. “It’s truly the most inclusive institution in our time.”
We all love a good story!
Narratives are a powerful communication tool and can bridge divides when used in the right way.
So, instead of interpreting someone’s tale from the printed word, what if you could hear it from them in person? What if you could ask a Holocaust survivor about their experience or challenge your own perceptions of eating disorders by speaking to someone who has one?
Now it is possible, the Bankier Library will be bringing the Human Library events to campus, which invites readers to “borrow human beings serving as open books.”
Each ‘book’ represents a group that struggles with prejudice or stigma based on their lifestyle, beliefs, disability, or ethnicity.
The “contact hypothesis” is a longstanding line of research that aims to combat bias is called the “contact hypothesis.” According to this theory, contact between groups can help promote tolerance and acceptance when brought together under the right conditions.
Previous research has also indicated that getting people to engage with another’s perspective for just 10 minutes can have long-lasting effects. For example, one study found that transphobia could be reduced through door-to-door canvassing, which encouraged people to imagine the world from a transgender person’s point of view.
The Human Library operates on the same principles.
We are growing our Bookshelf!
Become part of the Human Library Brookdale depot! We are growing our “bookshelf” that will be full of people eager to challenge stereotypes, dispel misconceptions & answer questions.
- Do you defy a stereotype? Do you have valuable experiences that readers could benefit from learning about? Are you motivated to help challenge stigma and stereotypes through dialogue and personal conversations?
- We can promise that being a book in the Human Library is more than you expect and something you will never forget.
Apply today if you would like to be a “verbal ambassador” about a challenging aspect of your life!
Once your application is received, you will be contacted by the organizers of Brookdale’s Human Library event for a brief interview. Then, your information will be sent to the Human Library for approval. All approved book volunteers are required to attend a training session facilitated by Human Library staff.
Human Library events are happening all over the world — currently in 87 countries!
Human Library Libguide
This guide describes the Human Library Event and provides tips for readers and for books.
For more information visit the Human Library website.