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Human Library® at Lehman College

The Human Library brings together the Lehman College Community to enhance experiences of diversity and inclusion. Students share their own stories of inspiration and resilience to break down barriers of stigma, bias, and misunderstanding.

The Human Library® - unjudge someone

People Standing Next to Each Other on a Book Shelf 

“How are we to understand each other, if we do not have the opportunity to talk to each other?”  

Ronni Abergel, Inventor of the Human Library®

 

THE HUMAN LIBRARY®

  • The Human Library®, http://humanlibrary.org/, is a concept and global movement for social change developed by Ronni Abergel, Dany Abergel, and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen, which began in Denmark in 2000.
  • It is a library of human beings, each representing a group in the community exposed to stigma or discrimination. It is designed to build a positive framework to challenge stereotypes and prejudices through non-confrontational dialogue.
  • The Human Library® is a place where real people are on loan to readers and where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered. The Human Library® encourages patrons to become Readers, by metaphorically “checking out” a Human Book for a 30-minute loan – formulating a conversation where patrons can ask questions they normally would not feel comfortable posing, and where Human Books can respond with their unique experiences.

HUMAN LIBRARY® at LEHMAN COLLEGE                                                                                      

  • The Human Library® provides a platform that gives voice to a diverse group of individuals to break down assumptions and bias that can lead to greater acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion in the community. Lehman College provides a safe space and benefits from these engaging conversations which can shape new understandings and perceptions.

HUMAN BOOKS                                                                                                                    

  • Human Books volunteer to challenge and break down barriers through honest and respectful dialogue. Their stories represent a range of backgrounds that may be subjected to stigma based on disability, ethnicity, religion, occupation, sexual conviction, social status or other experiences.
  • Lehman College students, faculty, and staff are welcome to volunteer as Books.

BOOK BENEFITS                                                                                                                              

  • Human Books provide fresh perspectives, raise awareness of issues, and honor diversity. They help build understanding through conversation and engagement, and inspire others with their true stories of resilience.
  • Human Books receive a Letter of Participation and a Human Library® Digital Badge from Lehman College, https://lehman.credly.com/view-credit/137870

REGISTER TO BE A BOOK                                                                                                    

BOOK TITLES, SUMMARY, ORIENTATION

  • Create a book title and summary that captures your experience so Readers know what your book will be about.
  • Topics are open and may include coping with abuse, addiction, college life, a disability, griefillness, loss, discussing your identity, culture, religion, family, language, experiences of discrimination, prejudice or stigma you would like to share.
  • The Human Library® coordinator at Lehman College will contact registrants and set up an orientation to describe the process of being a book

LIBRARIANS

  • Librarians help you identify which book title is the most relevant for you to meet and talk with. It is your choice but through your chat with the librarians we can help ensure a good match is found. 
  • On the day of the event, librarians have a list of all the titles on our bookshelf. Once you have selected a book, you will be introduced to the book.

STEPS FOR READERS TO CHECK-OUT A BOOK

  • Students, faculty and staff are welcome to be Readers at the Human Library® and check-out books for 30 minutes.
  • To check-out a book, go to the Check-in Desk. Once you have selected a book, you will be introduced to the book.

  • Rules for Readers - respect the book, be curious, return the book back on time and in the same condition you found it in, both parties have the right to end the loan at any time.

  • To check-out a new book, please return to the Check-in DeskOnce you have selected a book, you will be introduced to the book.

  • Please wait your turn in the waiting area. 

THE CONVERSATION

  • Human Books have the right to tell their story.
  • Readers have the right to ask questions.
  • Both have the right to privacy and be treated respectfully.
  • Both have the right to end the conversation at any time.

CLASS ASSIGNMENTS AND PRIVACY 

  • Please respect the privacy of all Human Books. If you decide to write about the Human Library® at Lehman College please refrain from using any personal names or specific places discussed.

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