human library octoberOn October 23, 2019 about 40 students, staff, administrators, faculty and community members sat down together in pairs at Skyline College Library, as eight of them  — in the form of “human books” — shared courageous conversations about life experiences with “readers” they’d never met.

This month’s human books, with such inventive titles as Legend of Latin Rock’s Rise from the Darkness to the Light, All Who Wander are not Lost and A Bear Ate a Man, raised hot topic issues. On the table for frank discussion? Topics ranged from racism and drug addiction to politics, pressures and other prejudices. Each session of the Human Library features new and different books.

Time and time again, powerful connections were made as human books and readers from different spheres found commonality in sharing stories. Students reported that they drew courage from dialog with books who’d overcome major life challenges and persevered. One former student back for a visit “read” all eight books and explained how the event had reversed what had started out a very bad day.  Another relayed, “I had the most awesome time…I “read” five books today…and I’ll be returning to read more…Wow!”

One human book participant commented on “my readers crying and relating; it was pure human connection.” Another spoke of the significance of their reader relaying “that with my book, they broke an inner wall in them.” While responses by participants in the Human Library have been overwhelming positive, some students learning about the event through email or flyers are unsure of what to expect. To our past participants: please help us spread the word! Read about October’s books and visit The Learning Common’s Human Library photo gallery on Facebook.

Lastly, mark your calendars for our next Human Library session Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m! Questions? Contact Please Pia Walawalkar at

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp | Photo by Marisa Thigpen

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