Put simply, there is no Human Library without Human Books.
A conversation at the Human Library is an interactive experience that engages two people – a Human Book and a Human Library Reader.
Human Books ultimately determine the success of the Human Library. They volunteer to challenge prejudice and stereotype through respectful conversation with members of the public. By volunteering, Books give their permission for peopleat a Human Library event to askquestions about their life, and to talk openly about prejudice, stereotype and discrimination.
With the help of their Organiser they choose a Book title that directly relates to the prejudice, stereotype or stigma that they want to challenge. They receive training beforehand where they have the opportunity to meet other Books from different backgrounds, learn how the Human Library works in practice, and explore the potential questions people could ask.
Although the role of the Book might appear to be similar to storytelling, it is important to state that Human Books are not storytellers. The Human Library encourages active and engaging conversations, rather than storytelling. Books are encouraged to ask as many questions as Readers, and it is possible that Books will ask the first questions. This could be as simple as ‘why did you choose me?’ or ‘what did you expect me to look like?’
Because the Human Library aims to challenge prejudice and discrimination, not everyone can be a Human Book. Human Books are people who can share life experience that can challenge prejudice towards issues such asethnicity, sex, age, disability, sexual preference, gender identity, religion/belief, lifestyle, or other aspects of who they are that they feel leads to prejudice or discrimination.