The Syracuse University Libraries will host its fifth annual Human Library event on Wednesday, April 11 from noon to 5 p.m. in Bird Library. Participants will have the opportunity to talk to “human books”: volunteers from the Syracuse University community who represent a variety of cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Human books will engage in conversation with participants in one-on-one or small group settings for 20 minutes at a time.
The event is open to campus and community. No preregistration is required; however, there will be an opportunity to reserve a book for a specific time in advance, if desired.
A Human Library is an event that encourages people from different backgrounds to talk with and learn from each other in a safe and supportive environment. The purpose is to create a positive space for dialogues on challenging topics, to break down stereotypes, and to celebrate diversity within our community.
Previous human book topics have included Native American, Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, and Middle Eastern cultures; disability, transgender, and biracial identity; military life; mental health issues; and immigrant experiences. Human books and participants of past events have described conversations as rewarding, fun, important, and insightful.
Event organizers are currently seeking Syracuse University faculty, staff, and students, and other community members to serve as human books. The deadline to complete an application form is Friday, March 9.
Campus event partners currently include the Blackstone LaunchPad, Hendricks Chapel, and the Slutzker Center for International Services. Syracuse University’s event is one of several Human Libraries offered throughout the region, with support from the Central NY Library Resources Council.
The first Human Library program was held in 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since then, similar events have been organized in libraries, schools and other institutions around the world. For more information see researchguides.library.syr.edu/humanlibrary.