In a Human Library, people are books and the reading is a conversation!
A Human Library offers 'living books' to be checked out for a conversation. Each human book is unique and has something to share regarding his or her experiences, perspectives, values, or beliefs. Readers are invited to select books that offer new experiences and viewpoints so that both the book and the reader can learn something new and foster understanding through a shared conversation.
University of Tennessee Knoxville jwinkels@ utk.edu
Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan, Utah anne.hedrich@ usu.edu
Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon alisonk@ multcolib.org
Stair Public Library, Morenci, Michigan cbtleddy@ gmail.com
Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan, Utah angela.neff@ usu.edu
1. The Human Library was designed to "promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and promote understanding" (from Humanlibrary.org). A Human Library benefits everyone: The community, the organization (such as your library) and the human books and their readers.
2. The Human Library has received a variety of international awards, including ones from Denmark, Australia and Austria.
3. It is flexible, adaptable and can be used in a multitude of settings.
Make sure books understand the event.
Recruit books with flyers, posting to your website, through personal contacts, and by contacting groups.
Provide a book orientation.
A catalog serves several purposes:
- it connects readers with books
- it makes a reading run more smoothly by providing an initial introduction to the topic of the human book
You can get ideas for how to design catalogs from websites for Human Library events.
When planning a Human Library, event logistics include:
Location/ Physical set-up
Materials (signage, other details/enhancement such as refreshments, t-shirts/how to identify books)
Connecting with organizations
Strategies to increase visibility such as working with local radio personality
Register with the Human Library organization at humanlibrary.org
Put information on a website
1. Provide written evaluation sheets for the books and the readers.
2. Getting feedback gives you an idea of how your Human Library was received and how it could be improved in the future, including suggestions for other titles.
3. The books and the readers overwhelmingly find it to be a worthwhile experience, using words like honest, engaging, wonderful, fun and informative.