We have seen different types of libraries during our lifetime in schools, colleges or organisations, where one can have access to books, periodicals and other documents. But today I’m going to talk about a library where books are in the form of humans. This is called Human Library.
In such a library, the books are all human volunteers, who have opted to speak about their experiences openly to an interested audience (readers) and answer any questions put by readers.
Each person has a title like ‘unemployed’, ‘refugee’, ‘bipolar,’ ‘transgender’, ‘cancer survivor’, ‘bullying victim’ etc. One can borrow a person to listen to his or her life story for 30 minutes or so. Sometimes, a book is also read by a small group of 4 to 5 readers.
The Human Library is a non-profit international organisation based in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was started in 2000 by brothers Ronni and Dany Abergel and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen during a youth movement named ‘Stop the Violence’.
The idea is to promote inclusion and diversity by preventing social injustice and discrimination. The story is received raw and real, without any pre-conceived notions or prejudices. By listening to the story, one realises how and why one shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.
This innovative project is now active in more than 85 countries including India, where grandmothers once used to be the best human storytellers. India has now around ten other human library chapters. A series of events ranging from sexual assault to mental health are organised to explore the real and unedited stories.
The concept of human library is an attempt to restore the lost connection between humans in real. The pleasure of listening to heart-warming, soul-stirring and fulfilling stories of people direct from people is inexplicable.
I don’t know about others, but whenever I write an article or story or even a fiction, I have someone at the back of my mind. The write-up may not be based completely on a person, but some resemblance may be there. It helps me write with much ease.
Remember there are great books hidden in most of us, and the same shouldn’t go to waste. These books must be read and appreciated to learn a lesson or two.