If you’re a reader, you know the value of a good book. Exploring a new place or character can be thrilling, and the more we discover the more we want to read.
I’m a sucker for a good story. If the writing is really good, I even start to feel like the characters I’m reading about are real.
But … what if those characters were real? What if they were actual living, breathing human beings like you and me?
May I introduce, for your reading enjoyment, The Human Library. Warning — the books you’ll find here don’t have pages, and if you’re a “book sniffer” (like myself) you might want to refrain when it comes to these titles, if only because taking a whiff of a complete stranger is against social norms.
But, as The Human Library is going outside social norms, you might be safe sniffing after all.
According to their website, “The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.”
Diversity is the word when it comes to this sort of library. Instead of checking out books, patrons are invited to check out people.
The Human Library originated in Copenhagen in early 2000. Now the trend is spreading, and events are popping up all over the world.
The website promises an opportunity for readers to “challenge their stereotypes” by taking a chance to speak with “real people.” People who we might not meet or encounter in our everyday lives and conversations.
The “book titles” range from individuals suffering from HIV, bipolar disorder, and sexual abuse to those with lifestyles involving everything from polyamory to body piercings. Patrons are expected to ask “difficult questions” of their living books, as the site promises The Human Library is “A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.”
“Hate crimes in the U.S. have risen 12% in the last two years,” the above video announces. “We need to listen to each other now more than ever.”
What do you think about this new way of approaching diversity and understanding? Would you “check out” one of these books if they came to an area near you?
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