Human Library is an international non-profit project dedicated to the diversity in our society. Human Library let people from different social groups and backgrounds to communicate with each other in an informal and safe environment. Our goal is to help people from different social, professional, religious and ethnic groups to get to know and understand each other and learn to treat each other with respect. Human Library is the opportunity to meet different people, openly discuss stereotypes and get rid of prejudices.
Human Library is an international non-profit project, completely organized by volunteers. The first Human Library was held in Denmark in 2000 and caused a great resonance in the international press (see the main website of the project: humanlibabry.org). Since then such events have been held in more than 50 countries around the world such as Canada, U.S., Singapore, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Thailand, Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Ireland, England, Bulgaria, Iceland, Austria, Estonia , Australia, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland, Ukraine, Japan, Brazil, Spain, Russia and Turkey.
Human Library works the same way as a normal library; Readers come to fill a library card, choose a Book from a catalog and borrow it for reading for some time. Then they return the Book back to the Library, and if they want, they take another one. The only difference is that the Book in Human Library is a real person, while reading is a conversation.
Books are people who are willing to share their personal history, experience and knowledge, and respond honestly to the questions of Readers. Books are real members of stigmatized social groups and professions that often experience stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. They are often treated on the basis of public myths. Reader can also be anyone who wants to learn something new about a particular social group, ask questions and discuss their own stereotypes and prejudice.
During Human Library event, Readers have live, face-to-face communication with Living Books and can ask them any questions in a safe and informal atmosphere. This project allows both Readers and Books to understand each other on a personal level and explore their differences and similarities.
The Book catalogs vary from country to country, and include members of very different social groups. For example, Living Books that are invited to the Library in different countries include refugees, policemen, priests, transsexuals, psychiatric wards, single travelers, former drug addicts, human right activists, etc.
The basic idea of Human Library is described by the phrase: “Do not judge a book by its cover.”