‘The Human Library’ is the opportunity to find out more about the people that surround you.
How much have you heard of muslims and gypsies, policemen and journalists, LGBTQ+ people and feminists, priests and scientists, homeless people and vegetarians? Surely, you have an opinion formed about those (and many other) types of people. But have you ever got a possibility to talk to that kind of person, find out how they are living, ask your questions? That’s what ‘The Human Library’ is for.
‘The Human Library’ works exactly like a usual library: ‘readers’ come, fill in the library card, pick a ‘book’ and read it during a certain period of time. Having returned ‘the book’, they can choose to read another one. The only difference is in the fact that the books of ‘The Human Library’ are real people, and the reading is a talk.
Here silly questions don’t exist.
People, who take the roles of ‘human books’, will try to give a genuine answer to any of your questions. They are ready to share their life experience and to discuss with a ‘reader’ those stereotypes and prejudices, that are usually associated with their group. In case your question is seen as too personal or too offensive, the ‘book’ will just refuse to reply and will suggest to talk about something else.
We have been organising ‘The Human Libraries’ in Perm from 2012 to 2016. The last one took place in the open-air space by the Opera Theatre as a part of the summer city festival ‘Mosty’ (ru: ‘Bridges’).
This is how it was:
The approach of a ‘human library’ can be used to familiarise your audience with a project by the means of one-on-one communication with its’ organisers. For example, you can introduce museums’ visitors to it’s workers or you can organise meetings with philanthropists and beneficiaries of your charity. In that case, your event can’t be called a ‘human library’ (because it is not one), but you can make a reference to the approach.
We are also happy to share our brochure, that explains the principles of organising a ‘human library’ on your request (in Russian only) as well as any necessary instructions, information or other materials. If you are interested, please, do not hesitate to contact Anja (firstname.lastname@example.org).