In this blog post, Aysa talks about the second Human Library event taking place at the University of Warwick. The Human Library helps to overcome stigma, combat prejudice, dismantle stereotypes, inform ignorance, clarify misconceptions, debunk myths, end discrimination, and challenge negative attitudes through conversations with Human Books… By Aysa Ozcan
The Human Library event came about after we were approached by a student last academic year to run a Human Library event here at Warwick. Although at first, we didn’t quite understand the concept of a Human Library, once we did, we were keen to run the event! In this blog post, you’ll find out a bit more about the Human Library event we will be running at Warwick next week.
So what is the Human Library?
…people as books? Conversations as readings?, The Human Library concept is simple but effective. In the Human Library, people are ‘books’ and those talking to our books and engaging in dialogue are ‘readers’. You are encouraged to ‘not judge a book by its cover’ ie – not judge a person by the way they look/sound and to not see them as just their label (whatever that might be). Human books can be anyone who has faced some kind of prejudice or stigma in their life.
The Human Library originated in Denmark before becoming a global organisation and setting up Human Library events around the world. There are many Human Library events run around the UK in both public libraries and also university libraries. This is the second event that we will be running here at Warwick.
Who can apply to be a ‘human book’?
Over the past few weeks, we have been recruiting Human Books. You can be a book so long as you defy a stereotype and are happy to have open and honest conversations.
How can I read a ‘human book’?
You can read our books by attending our event on the 13th of November. The event will take place in the Library Floor 2 Teaching Grid from 1 – 4pm.
Our website has more details about the event.
Readings take place on a one to one basis and last approximately 20 minutes.
What are some of the book titles available to loan?
We have a wide range of book titles including but not limited to mental conditions, physical health conditions, social status, occupation, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. You’ll have to join us on the day to find out more and who is available to read!
What will the ‘readings’ cover?
The ‘readings’ or conversations, will cover the personal experiences of each book where they will talk to you about their what it is like be them and enlighten you on some of the challenges that they may have faced. If you attend our event as a reader you will have a one on one conversation with one of our ‘human books’ and you will have the opportunity to ask respectful and open questions. Our ‘human books’ are not experts on their book title and they will only be talking about their own personal experiences.
On the day of the event, we will have hints and tips for readers sheet which will give you more information.
What was the event like last year?
Last year we ran the event on World Mental Health Day and had a variety of human books on loan. Although the event took place on World Mental Health Day Our book titles included a whole range of titles and this is what some of our human books said last year:
“I think it is a brilliant concept…”
“…you should organise an event like that more often, as we can come here and learn new things from people and become open-minded…”
“Please repeat it, it was an amazing experience”
We hope to see you there! For any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you familiar with the concept of a Human Library? Do you know what to expect from this event? Tweet us at @warwicklibrary, email us at email@example.com, or leave a comment below.
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Cover image: The University of Warwick Library
Image 1: The University of Warwick Library