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Human Library Event

Everything you need to know about the human library! Find information about what a human library is, what human "books" are, and how to participate as a "reader."

The Role of "Readers"

What is the role of the reader in a Human Library?  The reader is a person willing to face his/her own stereotypes by spending time with a human book.  Readers may choose book topics that present life experiences different from their own and about which they may have formed opinions.  Readers are willing to listen to the books, ask questions in a respectful manner, and deepen their own understanding of the life experiences of others.  Readers understand that books may not want to share very personal aspects of their stories and do not persist with questions that the books decline to answer.  Readers understand that they may not share the same values, ideas, and beliefs of the book, but they are willing to listen without condemning or trying to change the book.    

The Book and the Reader should keep track of the time so as not to exceed the maximum period for checking out a book.  Another borrower may be waiting.  



Erie Community College. (2017). Human library libguide. Retrieved from

What to Know about Being a "Reader"

We would like this to be a positive, exciting and valuable experience for both you and the human books. The human books available for you to “check out” are volunteers are very excited about being “borrowed” by you. We hope that you are excited to be checking them out.


  • Behave respectfully towards the books and other readers, even if your own opinions, beliefs or view of life are not the same.  The Human Library is based on mutual respect.
  • Please arrive a few minutes earlier than your scheduled time. If you arrive late we cannot guarantee that your spot will still be available.
  • Please turn off cell phones.
  • The human books are here to voluntarily share their own experiences. They cannot offer advice.
  • The human books welcome your questions.
  • Please be respectful of the books
  • If you feel uncomfortable during a conversation with a human book, you can:
    • Steer the conversation back to a more comfortable discussion
    • Ask for assistance from staff
    • End the conversation & inform staff
  • Do not hesitate to ask library staff for assistance at any time.


Libraries all over the world have been offering the award-winning Human Library program to their public. Readers have participated in the program in various ways. They have done so to -

  • Step outside their comfort zone and challenge themselves by talking to a human book whose experiences or beliefs are different from their own
  • Talk to a book that they can relate to
  • Step into someone else’s shoes
  • Learn more about a topic or the book’s experience

...or just out of curiosity!


  • Why did you volunteer to be a book?
  • Do you know others who share your experience?
  • If you could change the circumstances of your life, would you?



Erie Community College. (2017). Human library libguide. Retrieved from

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