The Human Library is an international movement that promotes an inclusive way to challenge prejudice through social contact.
Just like in a real library, a visitor to the Human Library can choose a Book from a range of titles. The difference is that Books are people, and reading is a conversation.
Social contact is known to be among the best ways to challenge prejudice, and the Human Library enables it to flourish. The Human Library provides a safe environment for people to engage in conversation within a framework of respect, and with the permission to respectfully ask questions and share experiences. The dialogue that the Human Library facilitates has the potential to challenge prejudice, stigma and discrimination.
In practice, the Human Library celebrates the diversity and positive difference of our communities, raises awareness of many different reasons people may experience exclusion, and takes positive action to address some of the issues that can lead to bullying, abuse and hate crime. Book titles deliberately acknowledge and provoke the assumptions or common prejudices that we, or society may have, and Readers are empowered to choose from a broad range of titles, and challenged to engage with the people behind the labels during short and respectful conversation.
The Human Library was created for the 2000 Roskilde Music Festival by a group of Danish activists who formed in response to a violent hate crime. Their idea was to use the language and mechanism of a library to facilitate conversations that challenge prejudice, thereby reducing the risk of tension and violence. From a base in Copenhagen the creators and founders of the Human Library Organisation have helped the movement to grow steadily across the world, and it is currently active in over 60 countries. The movement is growing!