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Human Library at Lehman College: Rules for Readers

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.

Rules for Readers

The books

All of our books are volunteers. They come from many different backgrounds but all share the same motivation. To help bring about understanding, answer questions, and share their experiences in order to counter discrimination, prejudice and stigma. The books represent groups in the community that are frequently subjected to stigma based on disability, religion, ethnicity, occupation, social status, or sexual conviction.

The librarians

Librarians are there to help you in any way they can. They will first and foremost 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. The librarians have a list of all the titles we carry on our bookshelf. Once you have selected a book your librarian will bring it to you and make the introductions.

Duration of loans

The human book should be returned to the Human Library no later than 30 minutes after the start of the loan. Books should be borrowed one at a time. Loans can be extended if the human book agrees (they may want to take a break!); just check back at the registration desk to be sure someone else isn't waiting. Your book must be handed back to us in the same condition it was in when given to you.

It is the privilege of both parties that they can end the conversation at any point they may wish.

Where to go?

We have prepared a reading room in the Periodicals Room for you to enjoy your talk with your book. You are not allowed to take the book out of the library! Fees will be incurred.

How to get the conversation going?

You can always start by sharing a little about yourself and why you found this title interesting. Please remember to feel absolutely free to ask any question you would like about your book's topic. Do not be shy. Do respect your book.


Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover!

Tactful Questions

Books are volunteers sharing personal information. Tactful questions are encouraged by readers so as not to embarrass or upset the book.

Benefits of Reading a "Book"

1. Increased empathy

2. Opportunity to gain a new and different perspective.

3. Opportunity to speak to someone you would not ordinarily get to speak with.

4. Get to know the diverse student body on campus.

5. Interact with someone who can empathize with your obstacles and college life.