The Human Library, a project that began in Denmark in 2000, is an international movement designed to challenge one to find commonality with a person from another background. By striving to actively quell stereotyping and division, the movement encourages dialogue and fosters understanding with a goal of affecting social change.
On October 30, 2018, the Skyline College Learning Commons hosted a soft launch of its own Human Library at Skyline College Library. This successful and interactive event gave members of the Skyline College community the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations as they learn from one another.
During the event, six diverse human books sat ready to be “loaned out” to “readers” just as libraries loan out physical books to their patrons. Instead of the book leaving the library, each “reader” sat with a “human book” in a comfortable and intimate setting, asking questions to learn the human book’s story.
One reader enjoyed an informative conversation with the human book, Immigrant or American?, and shared, “I learned that we are all from somewhere else, but ended up here [United States] somehow.” Another reader reiterated how the same book “reinforced the idea that America is a country of mixed cultures.” For the book, Hay Dios Mio … What am I Doing in College?, a reader was grateful how “… [the human book] was a very relatable person…Her struggles were similar to mine and I definitely felt inspired.” This event was so popular that staff moderators had waiting lists and found themselves in the tough position of needing to end conversations to allow other readers to participate. One of the readers was inspired to be a human book for our next scheduled event.
The six books who shared their stories also benefited from the connections that were fostered. The book, Perseverance and Dedication Can Take You Places, reflected on her experience saying, “Not only am I able to share my story, but [I] also learn about my reader’s story.”
The Learning Commons will keep the Human Library momentum going! If you missed October’s event, please join us November 29. 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Library at Building 6. If you are interested in participating as a human book in future events, please fill out our Human Library Participation Interest Form. Additional sessions will be scheduled through Spring 2019.
Let’s continue this new tradition in finding commonality!
Article by Sherri Wyatt & Jessica Silver-Sharp | Photo by Zaw Min Khant