The Syracuse University Libraries, in partnership with the School of Information Studies and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will host its first Human Library on Wednesday, April 9, from 3-6 p.m. in Bird Library. During this time, participants will have the opportunity to talk to “human books”: individuals from the SU campus community representing a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, areas of expertise, and life experiences, in an effort to encourage diversity and challenge stereotypes and prejudices.
Human books will lead one-on-one or small group conversations for 20 minutes at a time to share stories about their experiences or backgrounds. Participants can attend the event anytime between 3-6 p.m. to “check out” as many human books as they like. No preregistration is required, although there will be an opportunity to reserve human books for a specific time, if desired.
Some of the topics in our human book collection currently include: faith and social justice, life and culture of indigenous people, surviving sexual abuse, and overcoming obstacles to find success and happiness. Event organizers are accepting applications for human books until Friday, March 21. Faculty, staff, and graduate students can apply at http://tinyurl.com/bookvolunteer.
The purpose of a human library is to promote tolerance, challenge assumptions, and celebrate diversity within our community by enabling participants to engage in conversations with people whom they may not otherwise encounter. A Human Library encourages people from different backgrounds to talk with and learn from each other in a safe environment.
Syracuse University’s human library event is part of a regional Human Library program taking place during April (the month in which National Library Week is celebrated) with support from the Central NY Library Resources Council. The first known Human Library program was held in 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark (see http://www.humanlibrary.org). Since then, similar events have been organized in libraries, schools, and other institutions around the world.
For more information see http://researchguides.library.syr.edu/humanlibrary.