If a person is a book, would you “borrow” a person? Or are you also willing to open yourself up to readers as a book, showing your life story and what you see and feel without reservation? In Denmark, there is such a library, a library without books – the human library.
What is a human library
The Human Library is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating prejudice and promoting equal communication. In this library, you can borrow a person instead of a book to “read” and listen to this person for about 30 minutes. Tell your life story and what you saw and felt.
It sounds a bit like a lecture or a salon, but unlike most interview and dialogue programs composed of successful people, the “human books” gathered here are unemployed, refugees, patients with bipolar disorder… ordinary, There are even ordinary people who fail.
What “books” are there in the human library?
The Human Library is very much like a regular library, and just like traditional books, the Human Books have titles that describe their experiences such as Black Activist, Chronic Depression, Survivor of Human Trafficking, Muslim, Latino, Transgender, etc. wait.
These are people who have experienced prejudice, social exclusion or stigma and have chosen to speak openly about their experiences to an interested audience and answer any questions they have. Readers can ask them questions to get to know each other and challenge their own biases.
All “books” are volunteers, and the human library will conduct preliminary screening based on the value of their stories as well as the volunteers’ openness and communication skills. Before being officially “published”, “books” also need to receive training in the library, including organizing and expressing story content, finding the most meaningful and valuable chapters, conversation skills, how to adapt to the role of “book”, etc., ” They need to learn to adapt to the reader’s rhythm,” the library staff said.
The library will classify “books” according to different topics. Currently, there are more than 200 “books” in Copenhagen alone, including 4 books for transgender people, 3 books for Muslims, 4 books for bipolar disorder, etc.
”There have been a lot of changes and changes in book topics over the past two decades. Many of the topics today were not available when we started. Of course, gender, religious issues and neurological diversity have always been the most popular. .” The staff at the library said, “In recent years, reader demand has continued to increase, and we are also actively looking for new books.”
How to borrow human books
Typically, the human library is presented as an activity. The library manager is responsible for organizing various sharing activities. The librarian keeps close contact with the “books”, pays attention to their status and needs, and helps readers find what they want to read.
”We look for people who are homeless, unemployed, depressed, have mental health issues, have certain disabilities who can help educate us,” said Ronnie Abergel, the nonprofit’s founder and CEO Explains, “Whether you are young or old, whether you are rich or poor, whoever you are, we can meet and learn in the Human Library.”
If you happen to happen upon an event, just walk right in, participate. Meanwhile, Copenhagen’s Reading Garden will be open every Sunday without reservation or registration, just like going to a regular library, you walk by, go in, find a suitable book and interact with it. Those people who have been labeled with various labels in life, with their labels, stand in front of you, talk to you, and let you “read” their past and heart.
We can go into bookstores and find the vast world in words; we can also put aside our prejudices, have conversations, discuss, and sincerely perceive the diversity of the world.
Reading is never limited to form. Reading to the end is to look at the world more tolerantly.