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Human Library

This guide provides information, book descriptions, and resources about PPLD's Human Library.

2017 PPLD Human Library Catalog

Below is the catalog of books from PPLD's 2017 Human Library Collection. We are cultivating our collection and adding additional titles for 2018.

Click on a tab to read a description.

​Before events like Woodstock and the Summer of Love plunged America into sweeping social and moral change, most Americans lived lives steeped in the post-World War II values that defined the growing up years of the Baby Boomers. Television shows like Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and even The Flintstones flicked behind picture windows nightly, depicting ideal families living the American dream, where perfection was seemingly easy to attain and right and wrong were very clearly defined.  Good girls finished high school, more and more often went on to college, eventually married the boy next door and began a family.  We did hear whisperings in the high school hallways about “bad” girls, but these girls seemed to disappear and were quickly forgotten.  Many of them ended up in what were then referred to as “homes” for unwed mothers and most of these girls endured life-altering experiences that were never shared with anyone – ever.  This is my story of three months in a home for unwed mothers in the early 60s.  Like most of these stories, it is largely unshared.  It’s time to break that silence.

Further Reading.

This title was previously "90 years old," since our March Human Library, he has turned 91!

At age 91, I have “been there, done that.” I am interested in a wide variety of things and try to be a life-long learner. I love to make people laugh and am known as a storyteller. I appreciate humor in all its forms. I am easy to get along with and have no known enemies. Perhaps, it is as a friend said, “That’s right, you have outlived them all.” I consider myself to be a conservative person in a good way. That is, I want to conserve the principles that I believe in, but I also want to make what I consider to be needed, good changes. I believe that I am more compassionate than most people and in a broader sense that not only includes people, but also animals and plants—all living things. I was a high school English teacher and coach, as well as a junior college baseball and basketball coach, and university athletic administrator. I worked in multi-level marketing and as a public speaker for Success Motivation Institute. I was married to two wonderful ladies at different times. With ten decades of life experience, I want to share with others how these extensive experiences have shaped my ideas and beliefs.

Further Reading.

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental condition that impacts about one percent of the world's population, characterized by varying levels of difficulty communicating, interacting with others, and processing abstract information. Despite my diagnosis with high-functioning autism, I have overcome countless obstacles in my school, work, and social life that many said were impossible. My disability has given me a unique perspective of the challenges we all face in our lives, from family relationships to the struggles of becoming an adult. I've made drastic changes as I progressed from struggling, emotional child to a strong, independent young woman with a flourishing life. What misconceptions do you have about autism and autistic persons? I want to answer your questions and leave you with a better understanding than you had before!

Further Reading.

I am the survivor of two sexual assaults: one as a child and one as a college student. My ability to heal from each of these traumas was dramatically affected by the reactions of the people around me. The assault itself is only the first part of the trauma, and what happens in the aftermath can either alleviate or compound the pain.

I was born three months premature in the back seat of a car. Or so my mom begins my story when I’m freaking out about being different and she has to tell it to me again. I don’t know where the car was because neither did my birth mother at the time. I was small (for a while I was dressed in doll clothes, and slept in a dresser drawer) but I was lucky…very lucky. One in five children born with cerebral palsy have it this “good.” When Mom (who was my foster mom at the time) came to pick me up from the hospital the doctors even asked her, “Are you sure you want to take THAT one? She’ll never talk, or think, or go to school, or write…” This is why doctors are called practicing physicians because they practice on us, and in my case they had never met me! Neither have you, reader. But don’t worry I won’t bite…much. I have been answering elephant-in-the-living-room questions all my life. Cerebral palsy is called CP for short to those who are “in the know.” It is actually a blanket term for several brain injuries that usually occur at birth. My specific type of cerebral palsy is called Spastic Paralysis, which means some of my muscles are tight, some are loose, and none of them do what I want them to without a little… persuasion. It is NOT contagious. It is NOT a progressive or terminal disease, and it does NOT make me less clever or unable to hear.

Further Reading.

​I always say I was born on a pew and cut my teeth on the altar. It is “tongue in cheek,” of course, but I was raised all of my life very involved in my evangelical, charismatic church. When I was 8 my dad became a pastor and that made me a pastor’s kid. Among the great joys, adventures, and successes, my life has also included many other things, from abuse to depression, severe anxiety, trauma and great loss. Through it all, my faith has wavered but never faltered because I am not religious. I know Jesus. Fast forward to today: I am still very involved in leadership in my church where I am the Women’s Ministry Director and I sing on the Worship Team. But my everyday life is this: I am a stay at home mom of four children. I homeschool. I cook. I clean. I teach. I have never gone to college and I don’t plan to. I don’t work outside the home and I don’t have a business on the side. My husband, who is my best friend, is the breadwinner and I am happy with that. Yes, sometimes it feels like an island. But, it is my passion, and truly, I love my job.

Further Reading.

I am a librarian who has lived with Clinical Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, for over 20 years. Despite the recognition that depression and related illnesses now receive, there is still stigma attached to the disorder.  Depression has, at times, impacted many parts of my life: family, friends, and work.  I want people to realize that depression is not something to hide, or treat as a shameful condition.  I am proof that Major Depressive Disorder doesn’t have to prevent you, me, or anyone from living a full and productive life. Come talk with me and help in the battle to destigmatize depression!

Further Reading.

As I try to remind myself: “Bad things happen to everyone, but it’s not what happens to you, but how you deal with it that makes you who you are.” I developed this mentality long before I received a felony conviction the day before my 23rd birthday, March 15th, 2011. Since that experience I have had children, divorces, challenges, victories, and defeats. But I am not defined by my challenges or the circumstances of my life, I am defined by how I choose to overcome them, and the person I choose to be because of them. In the book “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran, he writes about good and evil, something I think all of us battle with, and he says, “You are good when you strive to give yourself.” When I strive to be the best me, even with a felony, I am good.

Further Reading.

The Only Woman (Girl) on the Boat

I developed a curiosity about life aboard merchant ships growing up on the Great Lakes in Michigan.  When I reached my twenties I met several men working on those boats, asking them questions that lead me to seek the same career.  There were many arguments against my decision to do so, yet I stood firm in my decision to give it a go.  The most common dispute was that there would be men who did not believe I belonged in the position, much the less onboard a ship at all: the old wives’ (old salts’) belief women were bad luck on a boat. I was ready for the fact that some of the crew I worked with expected me to be weak, not just physically but emotionally and intellectually.  What I did not expect to encounter was prejudice against my all inclusive attitude toward people, sexual harassment, an assumption I was there to steal jobs belonging to solely to men, or the stereotypical thought that the position of happy homemaker easily awaited me in life onshore.  I was prepared to defend myself, yet it was amazing to work with men awarded the responsibility of the crew and ship’s safety who were childish in their bullying, discrimination, and sabotage of my efforts.   

Further Reading.

When you think of a homeschooler, what picture comes to mind? Do you automatically assume that they: Lack social skills?  Wear long denim skirts?  Are super geniuses? Never leave the house? Do their schoolwork in their pajamas? Wear pants that are too short? Sleep all day and never study?  You may be surprised to learn that those are only stereotypes and are rarely correct.  Take a minute to chat with one who can debunk those for you!

Further Reading.

I am a fully enrolled tribal member of the Southern Ute Indian tribe. Being Native American has been one of my greatest blessings and struggles. One of the biggest struggles I face with my identity is going through everyday life with the misconceptions and misrepresentations of Native Americans. We are people reduced to the margins of history, our mistreatment untaught by schools. Since moving to Colorado Springs two years ago, the amount of racist or uneducated comments I receive daily have more than tripled. I face a constant battle between setting the record straight and choosing my battles. However, I am a strong believer in fighting back against prejudice and racism with knowledge.

Further Reading.

I was born in Serbia to my ethnic German father and Romanian-born mother. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, ethnic Germans were persecuted. To escape this, my parents and their three young children (ages 3, 2 and an infant), became refugees traveling to Germany. There my brother was born and we survived the Allied bombings for about three years. Late 1944, my father was conscripted into the German army and died in Poland (at age 34 or 35) in the waning days of WWII. My mother decided to return to her Romanian parents in Yugoslavia. We again became refugees; she was a 25 year old widow with 4 young children. Arriving in Serbia, we were sent to a Communist-run concentration camp, where all of my family died (mother age 26, sisters 6 and 4, and brother age 2). The camp closed two months after I turned 8. Then I was transferred to live in Communist Slovenian orphanages and institutions. I was lost for eight years; none of my next of kin knew if anybody from my family was still alive. In 1953 an uncle in the USA located me with help from the Red Cross. On my journey to the USA I was detained in Germany for 17 months because my (and others’) immigration papers were “lost;” we had to wait for new papers to be created. Arriving in the USA in 1956, I was finally reunited 15 years later with my aunts and uncles and met my many American cousins for the first time.

Further Reading.

I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia when I was 10.  My illness has impacted all aspects of my life: friendships, family relationships, school, and typical adult activities such as driving a car and getting a job.  Throughout my education, I was often bullied or goaded into exhibiting bad behavior by those who found it amusing to “push my buttons.”  Medications have caused weight gain, which has led to a variety of medical concerns including high cholesterol and diabetes.  My mom has been my primary caregiver and support system.  

Further Reading.

The internal and external conflicts of a self-harming teenage girl.  From overt stereotypes like being called “self-centered” or “emo,” to concealed stereotypes like double-takes at scars, and from finding a community to finally recovering.  Breaking down how to get help while showing how social molds are broken down.

Further Reading.

I experienced childhood sexual abuse that went on for seven years only to grow up and experience two separate events of sexual assaults, and then went on to marry someone who physically, emotionally abused and raped me on a frequent basis. However, through a turn of events, I was able to escape and find peace and healing. I was later able to remarry to a wonderful man of 12 years, and now have two more daughters whom I homeschool while I am enrolled in school full time. I found success and healing through courage, patience, and determination. Now in school to become a criminal psychologist, I hope to help bring justice for victims. Pain is real. Fear is real, but my desire is to let others know that healing IS possible. A life of happiness and stability IS possible; you just have to believe in yourself.

Further Reading.

I was 18 and in love, so finding out I was pregnant was exciting. However, that fairytale was short lived. I met another man who I thought was eager to take on the responsibility of raising a child who wasn't his. But I was fooled. Abused physically and broken emotionally, I became terrified to leave. It was when I wound up pregnant again at 19 that I struggled with my moral beliefs and wanting so badly to go against them. I was afraid of what the rest of the world would think of me. But through prayer and choosing my happiness over what anyone thought, I left him. It was a struggle at a young age that I overcame. I did it for myself, but more importantly, for my kids.

Years later I met and married a man and we conceived a little girl. Only this unfortunately has no happy ending. I am currently in the middle of a divorce, and although it is not by choice, I know there is a reason for everything that has led me to this point. I have battled much pain and sadness, but my three children are what keep me motivated. I remain continuously positive because I know God has a plan for my life and that this too shall pass.

 

Further Reading.

My name is Jace and I am not your average guy. Going through puberty once is an exciting and terrible time, however what if you had to do it twice and while going to college and working full time? I was born a female but have always felt male. My mind and body never matched until I transitioned to male. Growing up and experiencing two genders has been not only challenging but an extraordinary experience. As a kid I never acted like a little girl and always knew something was wrong. I had to take the steps to find my true self. What it means to be a man to me is very different than most. Being transgender is a whole other world most do not know exists.

Further Reading.