The Human Library is a mobile event that uses the language and mechanism of a library to challenge prejudice.
Human Library events are organised to support our principles of inclusion and choice, and achieve our aim of challenging prejudice, stigma and discrimination. Most Human Library events are organised by a small team but they can be organised by just one person.
The majority of Human Library eventstake place in venues that are open to the public and attract a high number of visitors, such as public libraries, community centres and galleries. However, the versatility of the Human Library means that events can take place almost anywhere. The Human is equally popular at festivals and fairs, in schools, colleges and universities, and even shopping centres!
There are three spaces in your Human Library: the Desk, the Reading Room and the Bookshelf.
The Desk is the information and administration point of the Human Library. Librarians record the number of Readers and every conversation that takes place. Readers can find information about the Human Library movement, and browse the list of Books on the Availability Board. Once a Reader has decided to participate they are given a Human Library Card. Then theychoose a Human Book and a member of volunteer staff introduces them to each other. If Readers require help choosing a Book, volunteer Staff will be on hand to talk through the Availability Board and help them make a choice.
The Reading Room is the area set aside for conversations to take place. Usually chairs are arranged in pairs, threes or fours. Sometimes small tables can be used if available to the Organiser. Reading Rooms should be in full view of the Desk and close to the Bookshelf. When a Reader has chosen a Book, volunteer Staff find a place in the Reading Room for Books and Readers to sit and enjoy their respectful conversation. Before any conversation begins the Rights of the Book and Reader are read aloud to both parties, and after 30 minutes the conversation will be politely brought to a close.
The Bookshelf is where Books wait while they are not on loan. The Bookshelf can be every bit as vibrant as the Reading Room, as Books often borrow one another informally while waiting for Readers. The inclusiveness of the Human Library means that while on the Bookshelf, Books have the opportunity to share experiences and challenge the assumptions they may have of each other and learn how prejudice affects people from backgrounds different to their own.