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Human Library

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

Human Library F.A.Q.

1. What is the Human Library?

PPLD’s Human Library seeks to engage our community in civic conversation by providing an opportunity for people to connect one-on-one with those they might otherwise never have a chance to talk – people who may have life experiences, stories, or beliefs different from their own. The public library is an organization dedicated to serving its entire community regardless of background, economic status, age, and human condition. A Human Library event reflects the mission of our library and like the public library, it reflects the needs and interests of the community.

Just like borrowing a book from the library, you can “check out” a human book for a 20-minute conversation. These informal chats will take place Sat., March 7, 2020 from 1-4 p.m. at Knights of Columbus Hall 22. W. Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Parking is located West of the Penrose Library, between the library and Pikes Peak Community College Downtown Campus. Parking is metered and .50/hour. 

2. What are the goals of the Human Library program?

PPLD serves a large geographic population, reaching from Cascade to Calhan and Fountain to Palmer Lake. We would like to help our community look at our assumptions through a complete lens and present bias from multiple angles.  Having a conversation with someone in a Human Library can bridge differences in showing our similarities, that first and foremost, we are human. We would like to help strengthen these community connections by encouraging people to engage in conversation and share their different life experiences. Readers will be able to enjoy the oral tradition of storytelling and meet new people with fascinating stories.

3. Where did the idea for a Human Library come from?

The first Human Library was created in 2000 by a Copenhagen group in response to violent prejudicial sentiments witnessed in their country. Since then, more than 70 countries have held Human Library events. PPLD submitted an application to the Human Library organization to hold an event in our community and committed to using the organization’s model for our program. Similar programs have been held at other academic and public libraries across the country, some use the Human Library organization’s format, or hold other programs called Living Libraries. Read more about the Human Library: humanlibrary.org.

4. What is a Human Book?

A human book is a person who has volunteered to engage in respectful conversation with members of the public who borrow them. Their book title relates to their life experiences and assumptions about this identity. Check the Human Library Book Catalog for our available 2020 titles: https://research.ppld.org/humanlibrary/2020descriptions 

5. How do I “check out” a Human Book?

Books are available to check out from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on March 7. Readers may place ONE book on hold prior to the event, by calling (719)389-8968 from March 2 - March 6. Readers are welcome to read more books on the day of the event.

6. How did you select the Human Books?

We  followed the guidelines and selection criteria in a “toolkit” provided by the Human Library’s official organization. The public library is reflective of every person in our community and every person can find a book or resource that speaks to them. When librarians make book and resource selections we look for items that reflect the wide range of interests, ideas, ages, and backgrounds of people in our community. We do the same when we select books for our human library.

7. What will the Human Books talk about?

They will share their personal experiences and answer your questions. This is your opportunity to find out about your similarities and differences. In a two-way conversation, you are encouraged to discuss your own point of view (as is the human book) with respect and courtesy.

8. What can I gain from talking to a Human Book that I could not get from a printed book?

An amazing conversation can be expected! Traditional formats such as printed books, and the Internet, do not capture unique and valuable experiences and emotions. In addition, these human books have not recorded their individual stories in print, so you get to hear their unpublished stories.

9. Can I come on any day to check out a Human Book?

The books will only be available between 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2020. 

10. Do I need to register ahead of time?

It is recommended that you reserve a slot ahead of time, but it is not required. There will also be walk-in openings available. 

11. How many people can check out a book at the same time?

Although the program is designed to be a one-on-one conversation, if two people know each other, they may check out one book at the same time.

12. Can children attend?

Out of respect for the books and readers, we ask that you do not bring young children to this program, it would be a distraction to the conversation and boring for the child. As the caregiver of an older child, it is your responsibility to decide if the material is suitable for your child.

13.  How can I apply to be a Human Book?

Check back soon for application opportunities in Fall of 2020!

Adapted from surreylibraries.ca/programs-services/5716.aspx and humanlibrary.org