Learning Commons’ Human Library Concludes Successful Spring Season

Human LibraryThe Human Library drew Skyline College another step closer as a community, with as many as 80 participants including staff, students and faculty, exploring each other’s stories as part of an interactive international movement to “unjudge.” At Human Library sessions, “human books” are “loaned” to readers just as libraries loan physical books to library visitors. Continuing the theme, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” readers are encouraged to ask questions freely for honest answers in return, as books and readers engage in conversations at the Skyline College Library.

On April 22, 2019, 54 readers selected from their choice of 11 inventively titled and richly diverse human books. The living booklist included In transit, The Belara dream, Ser educada: the new Mestiza, Becoming Dr. B, Stage fright: finding a voice in unexpected places, AA to PHD: join me, Immigrant or American?, Academic probation? Me?, Showing up differently, Navigating life’s series of firsts, and When life throws you lemons…make cranberry juice!

The April session also brought new changes as staff welcomed professors David Hasson (Math) and Serena Chu-Mraz (ESOL) and their students to participate as readers, while Skyline College president and administrators Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, Dr. Angelica Garcia and Dr. Jennifer Mendoza-Taylor, settled in as books to share their unique journeys.

Sherri Wyatt, library instructional aid and event organizer, invited her family to the April session. Her sister Ja’Net Wyatt, a professional balloon artist, uplifted the event with balloon creations. In turn, she was able to “check out” President Stanback Stroud’s story, relaying afterwards:

“The Human Library was a very interesting experience. Dr. Stanback Stroud’s story was the same as many of us who major in one field and end up in another career. Yet she had a burning desire to assist in the resolution of the nation’s hard-to-solve problem of poverty. My curiosity in her anti-poverty program revealed the underlying reasons for the increases in poverty amongst minorities: racism and white supremacy laws. I applaud her efforts to be part of the solution…”

Also new in April? As books and readers returned to engage for the second or even third time, and as students arrived in class groups, the session was adapted for books to share stories for longer periods and with multiple readers at once. Still, as books acquired waiting lists of curious readers, staff were challenged to curtail stories to accommodate those waiting.

The March 20 event also drew many readers and five new books including California dreamin’, Gratitude speaks, The Indecisive young mom, Legend of Latin rock’s rise from darkness into the light, and Brave starts today.

The Human Library received a wealth of positive feedback from its Spring participants who have requested that more such events take place campus wide. One reader commented poignantly,  “I learned so much by being “allowed” to ask naive questions and know that it wouldn’t offend.” Another relayed the value of “learning how we can rise to the top of our dreams and goals and fall and still land in a great place along the journey of life.”

All human books are invited to return to Skyline College Library for our Human Book Mixer on May 16, 2019 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is an opportunity to mingle and celebrate the success of the Human Library events.

Please check out photos of the event on Facebook as well as many good reads in the Human Library Archives. Questions? Contact Pia Walawalkar at walawalkars@smccd.edu.

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp | Photo by Marisa Thigpen

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