Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Human Library, breaking stereotypes

Image courtesy:
Human Library
Recently, I came across a wonderful concept called 'Human Library'. It's simple - instead borrowing books, people 'borrow' humans from this library. In a sense, they are 'books' that talk to you.

I was curious and did some research. This is a Copenhagen, Denmark, based non-profit organisation, started in 2000 by Ronni Abergel and his brother Dany and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen. Today, it is operational in 80 countries across six continents.

The basic concept is to create a "safe space for dialog where topics are discussed openly between our human books and their readers", says the website.

So who are the books? It says, "All of our human books are volunteers with personal experience with their topic. The Human Library® is a place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered."

Regular meetup are held, where the 'books' talk, and discuss difficult and complex issues. Efforts made to break stereotypes, and to understand different people, their thoughts, and their lives.

Stereotyping is natural, but it's not desirable. We have to understand and respect differences among of us. This wonderful world is not made up of only one type of people. It is heterogeneous and diverse; and we learn from one another, and live together in harmony.

I found that there are branches of Human Library in India, in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and even in the adjoining smaller city of Mysuru, where the first event was held recently on December 8.

I am yet to speak to someone who has been associated with it. But on the face of it, it sounds like a very good, innovative, healthy and positive activity.

I am keen on finding more about it; and volunteering for it. One of the to-do activities in 2020.

Have your heard of Human Library, or are you one of the 'books'? Would love to know your thoughts.


  1. This sounds really interesting Pradeep - I can imagine that the conversations would be quite lively - and I wonder if they get a bit heated at times? It'd be a great learning resource especially for those who aren't lovers of reading.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM ☺️

  2. This is quite interesting. Do they meet personally at specie venue or interact through internet like yahoo groups or WhatsApp groups?
    How is it different from the existing groups. Do let us know more about it when you have joined one.

  3. Human Library Meetups are organized regularly here in Chennai by the British Council. The issue is, they select the human books and there is not much interaction - the books keep speaking and the listener predominantly has to listen. I think it needs to be more interactive, maybe it is - I have not attended one.

    Destination Infinity

  4. Interesting take on communication. If done well it could open up talks on so many topics. I think a great topic as well is to gain knowledge from our older generations. Today, in many western areas, our older generations are not heard like they once were.

    Thank you for sharing this interesting topic!


  5. This sounds familiar. I haven't experienced it, but I read about it someplace.

  6. Hi Pradeep - fascinating ... and so yes thank you for letting us know about this project. The website looks really interesting with lots of links to help the understanding of how they work ... which I'll look at in the coming week or two ... great idea - and yes I hope you keep us updated as to how your time volunteering with them goes ... cheers - excellent post - Hilary

  7. Really nice initiative on part of the founders and volunteers.

    I am yet to see a branch in North India.