Human Library ConversationsOn November 2, the Human Library welcomed staff, students, and faculty who had signed up to share and listen to personal stories as part of an international movement to “unjudge.” This was a virtual event organized by the Skyline College Library to challenge stereotypes and prejudice through dialog. 

The session included the return of two “human book” volunteers who had previously shared their stories with readers, An Intentional Tumbleweed…the Power of Surrendering to Organic Connection and Transformation, and Legend of Latin Rock’s Rise from Darkness into the Light. Four “new” human books: Flying 101: How my first time on a plane took me to the other side of the world; How being a quitter has made me a success; No such thing as wasted learning; and Play the tape joined the Human Library event and shared their stories for the first time.

Like humans themselves, every Human Library event is different, and the flavor of this session was unexpectedly international. With two international participants having found the event listing on Facebook, and many event attendees being multilingual, zoom conversations crossed the oceans via English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

While “readers” had reserved all sixteen conversation spots in advance, there was some flexibility in the schedule which gave the opportunity for a special drop-in visit by the Skyline College President Dr. Melissa Moreno, who was especially moved by the poignant story, Play the Tape

Students and human books alike reported “rich” and “moving” experiences from their new connections. One student reader described his takeaway this way: “That if I’m courageous enough to reach out to people I don’t know, I gain an understanding which makes me less prone to judge them, possibly erroneously,” adding, “I learned that I must overcome my introverted tendency because great experiences like these are within reach if I do.”

Another shared, “I loved both books. How being a quitter has made me a success gave me insights as a 22-year-old, trying to figure out life. Play the tape made me think about my family overseas and really value the time together when we can.”

Human books also reported gratifying experiences. One remarked they had enjoyed “All of it! Just sharing my experiences and learning how people whom I didn’t know before would be so interested to hear my stories!” 

You can find the complete archive of human books here. If you missed the Human Library this month, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in Spring 2022, even if you’ve graduated or are not enrolled. 

Would you like to share your story as a human book in the future? Have other questions? Please contact Pia Walawalkar <>.

More information on the Human Library, a worldwide movement for social change, can be found at here: The Human Library at Skyline College is supported by a President’s Innovation Fund (PIF) award.

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp

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