What is a Human Library
Posted on March 25th, 2023

Sasanka De Silva Pannipitiya

A human library is an organization or event that promotes dialogue, understanding, and respect among people from various backgrounds by allowing people to “borrow” other people as “books” to learn about their experiences, perspectives, and identities.

The idea behind the Human Library is to create a safe space where people can engage in open and honest conversations with others, particularly those with whom they may not have previously interacted.

A Human Library event allows participants to select from a catalogue of available “books” real people who have volunteered to share their stories and experiences and then engage in one-on-one conversations with them.

The Human Library was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2000 and has since spread to many countries worldwide. It is frequently used to combat prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping by questioning people’s assumptions and encouraging empathy and understanding.

The Human Library offers several benefits, including:

Promoting empathy and understanding:

By giving people the opportunity to engage in one-on-one conversations with individuals who have different experiences, perspectives, and identities, the Human Library helps to break down barriers and promote empathy and understanding.

Challenging stereotypes and prejudices:

The Human Library challenges stereotypes and prejudices by allowing individuals to learn about other people’s experiences firsthand. This helps to break down preconceived notions and encourages people to question their assumptions.

Fostering dialogue and communication:

It promotes dialogue and communication by creating a safe space where individuals can engage in open and honest conversations about difficult topics.

Building community:

Further brings people from different backgrounds together and helps to build a sense of community by encouraging individuals to learn from one another and share their experiences.

Encouraging personal growth:

Participating in the Human Library can be a transformative experience, as it challenges individuals to step outside of their comfort zones, learn about new perspectives, and reflect on their own beliefs and values.

Sasanka De Silva


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