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On the 30th October last year Oz Osborne who works for Time to Change gave a presentation about the Human Library at Take Five. Adina Levay and Suzanna Coppolina asked Oz to give a talk at their Chalk Circle event.
Oz is very passionate about the Human Library and does many presentations and events all over the country to introduce the concept to the public. The human library is just like a book library but there is a difference, instead of the library loaning out books it loans out people. So you don’t borrow a book to read you borrow a person to read, through talking and listening to them. Just like you learn and develop knowledge through reading books, you can learn from interacting with people. Most people have some prejudices and typically stereotype people so by borrowing a book from the Human Library shelf on a choosen topic of interest, it may help you to open and change your mind, your attitude and views and help you to learn and gain new knowledge by asking people directly, listening and talking to them. By learning more about the person and their subject you can help to challenge stereotypes, stigma and discrimination and change attitudes in our culture. Book titles can be anything – Bipolar Disorder, Transgender, Learning Disability, Wheelchair user, Refugee and so on. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about new subjects by asking people direct. Through conversation and interactivity learning becomes easier and interesting and is more likely to be remembered and has probably more of an effect on people. These are people who are talking about subjects, certain aspects of their lives that they have real lived experience from which is always more informative than many books.
Don’t judge a book by its cover is just the same as saying don’t judge people by first impressions when you don’t know anything about them, don’t judge people because of their colour, sexuality, mental health, appearance and so on. Unfortunately, in our society today we all do it so this is a fantastic idea and opportunity to change perceptions and re-educate people.
The event was very successful and I really enjoyed it. I had never been to a human library event before and I found it really interesting. We were split into two groups and we had a chance to talk to a human book. I have been asked to be a book before but always said no as I felt too nervous to do it. I can see why it is so successful and I am sure the books on loan enjoy it as much as the borrowers, it is a great way to meet new people, change attitudes and gain new knowledge.
Below slideshow of pictures from event.