Life’s Lessons Learned & Shared: Human Library Advances the Movement to “Unjudge”

human libraryContinuing the theme “don’t judge a book by its cover,” the Skyline College Learning Commons concluded its fall semester with a November 29 session of the Human Library. At these events, “human books” — in the form of Skyline College students, faculty and staff — are “loaned out” to readers just as libraries loan physical books to library patrons. Each reader selects or “check outs” a human book and the two engage in one-on-one conversations in the comfort of the Library. The inspiration for this now international movement began in Denmark almost 20 years ago.

November’s event featured five new human titles ready to share their stories: Creating New Bonds, Navigating Life’s Series of Firsts, Never Tell Me the Odds, A Road to Redemption, and The Sunflower Who Grew from Concrete. Readers enjoyed rich discussions, requesting and receiving extra time with their books.

The Human Library returned by popular demand on February 21, 2019. This time 10 readers chose from four human books: Defining First-Generation, Lost in Translation, Success Starts in the Mind: Take Command of Your Life, and When Life Throws You Lemons … Make Cranberry Juice!

Following the event, human books relayed their positive experiences with staff. Lost in Translation explained, “I really liked my third reader. She wanted to learn more about both my [personal] experiences and my cultural experiences.” When Life Throws You Lemons noted, “[I] enjoyed discussing my reasoning for writing a book about my experience.” Success Starts in the Mind enjoyed “informing readers that failing is part of life; you just need to learn how to re-frame problems.”

Information about past books are kept in the Human Library Book Archive. Meanwhile, The Learning Commons is committed to keeping the Human Library momentum going! If you missed previous sessions, please join us at Skyline College Library on March 20, 2019 from 1:00 p/m. – 3:00 p.m. or April 12, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Would you like to share your story as a “human book”? Simply fill out the Human Library Participation Interest Form as soon as you can and a staff person will be in touch.

Questions? Contact Pia Walawalkar at walawalkars@smccd.edu.

Article by Sherri Wyatt & Jessica Silver-Sharp | Photo by Marisa Thigpen

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