Human Library to come on campus

By Therese Pokorney, Assistant Daytime News Editor

The Human Library, an event focused on creating conversations that are meant to challenge stereotypes and chip away prejudice, invites the public to learn more about the ‘books’ from all walks of life on campus Thursday at Pygmalion Music Festival.

Visual Resources and Outreach Specialist, and Human Library host, Sarah Christensen wrote in an email, the Human Library is run by volunteers who participate as ‘books’ who have experienced discrimination based on race, religion, sexual preference, class, gender identity, sex, age, lifestyle choices, disability or some other aspect of their identities.

Participants ‘read’ the book and have a one-on-one conversation about their personal experience.

“A lot of people don’t interact with those who don’t have a lot in common with them, and it’s really important to get out and expand your worldview and get to know people with who you might never have connected with otherwise,” she said. “This is especially important in a world that is becoming more and more polarized, and I think it’s part of being a responsible community member. Students will definitely leave the event with a little more knowledge and perhaps a little more empathy than before.”

Christensen said The Human Library is an international movement that started in Denmark in 2000 and has since made its way through over 70 countries. It provides an opportunity for the community to share and understand the experiences of others through face-to-face communication, she said.

Spectators will have the opportunity to ask the ‘books’ questions and develop connections to challenge stereotypes since it’s become normalized to read about the experience or perspective of others on a screen, she said.

“The experience can seem a bit awkward and intimidating to a lot of people, but we try to make it as comfortable as possible,” Christensen said. “Each of the ‘books’ has provided a list of icebreaker questions to get a conversation started if you feel stuck, and we try to make the event as inclusive and judgment-free as possible.”

[email protected]