A human library is an innovative concept that aims to promote social inclusion, encourage empathy, and break down stereotypes by creating a platform for human-to-human interaction. In a human library, the “books” are real people who have volunteered to share their life experiences and perspectives with others, who are referred to as “readers.”
The idea behind a human library is that just as you can borrow a book from a traditional library to learn about a particular topic or perspective, you can also “borrow” a person with a unique life story and listen to their experiences. The human “books” come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and each has a title that describes their story. For example, you might “borrow” a person with a title like “Refugee,” “Autistic,” “Homeless,” or “LGBTQ+ Activist.”
Human libraries typically take place in a public space, such as a library, community center, or school, and readers can browse through the available “books,” select the ones that interest them, and have a conversation with the person behind the title. The conversations are designed to be open and respectful, and readers are encouraged to ask questions and share their own experiences.
The human library movement originated in Denmark in 2000 and has since spread to more than 80 countries worldwide. It has proven to be a powerful tool for promoting understanding and empathy between different communities and breaking down stereotypes and prejudices. It offers a unique opportunity for people to step outside their comfort zones, learn from others, and build stronger, more inclusive communities.