Without the dedication of committed volunteers and supporters, the Human Library could not happen.
Volunteer Staff help us to engage with Books and Readers and to evaluate the success of Human Library events. Staff help Organisers to manage the three spaces of the Human Library: the Desk, the Reading Room and the Bookshelf.
There are three principal Human Library Staff roles.
Librarians administer the event and ensure the mechanism of issuing Human Books runs smoothly. Librarians record the number of Readers and number of conversations, issue Library Cards and update the Availability Board.Librarians work at the Desk.
Matchmakers operate as a small team working closely with the Librarians. Each Match maker is assigned to a small number of Books and they are responsible for introducing their Books to Readers who choose their title. They find Book and Reader a place to sit in the Reading Room and read the ‘Rights of the Book’ and ‘Rights of the Reader’ aloud before the conversation starts. They also visit the conversation after 5 minutes, and again five minutes before the end, to check everything is ok. After 30 minutes the politely and respectfully and bring the conversation to a close.
Matchmakers play a crucial role keeping Books safe and ensuring conversations are conducted respectfully.Matchmakers’ unique role means they are the link between the Desk,the Bookshelf and Reading Room.
Library Assistants probably have the most difficult job. Their role is to engage with potential Readers and encourage them to participate in the Human Library. Library Assistants are able to spend time talking to interested people and explain how the Human Library works. They can also go to the Desk with Readers and help them make their choice.
For all the roles, teamwork and communication between Staff and Books is paramount, and when this is done effectively a dynamic group of people emerge who become social activists and community champions. Library Assistants can work in all parts of the Human Library, but are often outside or at the entrance to the event, catching people as they go past or look inquisitively. They can also go out into the area surrounding the event to encourage participation.