The Human Library
All photos: The Human Library.
The Human Library is an organization with a purpose that blows my mind! The Human Library or «Menneskebiblioteket» is a non-profit organization that has grown to be a global innovative and hands-on learning platform. It was founded 20 years ago by Ronni Abergel in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Human Library allow educational institutions, corporate organizations and civic engagements to better our understanding about diversity, to help create a more inclusive and cohesive society – across cultural, religious, social and ethnic differences.
The Human Library offers diversity, equity and inclusion training for companies who wish to enhance social understanding in their workforce and grow their cultural awareness in deepening partnerships with clients.
Human Library creates a safe framework for personal conversations that can help challenge prejudice, lessen discrimination, prevent conflicts and contribute to higher tolerance and non-judgement between people. Human Library allows for a special dialog room, where challenging, even taboo topics can be discussed openly, expanding tolerance and acceptance of diversity. A space where people would otherwise not have been able to ask questions and get answers enables a conversation.
The library works like this:
*A book is a person that volunteered to represent a stigmatized group in a community, willing to speak about a topic they have experienced personally. Check out books here.
*A reader is a person that borrows the book for a conversation, and they may ask questions to the book´s topic. The aim is to raise the reader´s understanding and tolerance about the given topic.
*A librarian and a book depot manager are people that are trained to take care of the book, and the conversation in a local Human Library event.
How long and where have Human Libraries popped up?
For more than 20 years, in 80 countries, Human Library have set up events with local, volunteer collaborators, allowing a voice to stigmatized groups in the local community. Another purpose is to help bring about platforms that support a greater understanding of diversity and social cohesion in society.
Check out Human Library events here.
If you are interested in hosting an event or becoming a book – read more here.
My Human Library Dreams: My dream is to host a Human Library event where I live, with local books. This is in progress, let´s see what life after COVID entails. I commit to pursuing this to happen at a later stage. I also dream of hosting a Human Library event in Construction – the largest land-based industry in Norway, (and my professional field for over two decades), with a workforce of 350 000people, of which 91% are men. A way to go to reach diversity. What will it take to make this industry equal, diverse-friendly, and welcoming everyone?