The Human Library is a place where people are books on loan to readers for a chat, a safe space for dialogue.

It was started in in 2001 in Denmark by Ronni Abergel, his brother Dani, Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen. It recently won Denmark’s Community Award, recognized as a project that strengthens the community and one which the community cannot live without in their lives. “Since its beginning, the Human Library movement has expanded to 6 continents and 85 countries,” said Judith Ungar, assistant professor of the Bankier Library, who is introducing the Human Library to Brookdale during Spring Civility Week. “In addition, many colleges and universities hold Human Library events to broad acclaim,” she added.

The goal of the Human Library is to challenge stereotypes and foster understanding and compassion. It allows people to meet others of various backgrounds and world views by checking out a human book from the library to “read” the Book. The human book, in return, will tell its story, present its points of view, answer any questions, and share its thoughts. In addition, the Reader will get to talk to the Book after they listen to their story.

Being human means, we are imperfect, make mistakes, make judgments, and have unconscious biases. In a Human Library, a Book allows a person to have insight into its life and exchange experiences with the Reader. The difference between a printed book and a human book is interacting with the author, going outside the pages. This exchange is how the power of the Human Library can create personal change.

Brookdale Community College will hold a Human Library event on Thursday, February 17, 2022, from 3:00 – 7:00 pm in the Bankier Library. “It is a great way to bring in and engage the entire Brookdale community,” said Dr. Ashley Zampogna-Krug, assistant professor, History, and co-coordinator of this project.

Brookdale is looking for participants for its Human Library. The theme will be the Global Citizenship Project’s theme, Transcending Divisions, personal stories where individuals share how they have overcome divisions (political, personal, racial, intergenerational, are some examples) in their lives.

There are three ways to participate:

• Be a Book: Anyone who would like to share their story with individuals or a class. They will have about 20 minutes to share their story leaving room for questions.

• Be a Moderator: Help facilitate the sessions. A moderator will keep track of time and prompt the conversation after the Book has finished presenting.

• Join In As A Reader: All are welcome. We would love to see Readers from all parts of the College!

These one-on-one conversations in the Human Library will be exciting and open in an unjudgmental zone. Readers will learn from Books and Books from Readers and Moderators from both. In addition, Readers’ minds may buzz from the impact of listening and talking to the Books and even be inspired to be a Book next time!

Please contact Judith Ungar- or Dr. Ashley Zampogna-Krug- for more information, suggestions, or offers of assistance.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Human Library Event in February!