Shropshire Libraries to host Human Library events to challenge stigma
Shropshire Libraries have teamed up with international organisation and movement, the Human Library™, to set up a Human Library book depot in Shropshire.
The Human Library™ was a concept first created by Ronni Abergel, Dany Abergel, Christoffer Erichsen and Asma Mouna of the Danish youth organisation Stop The Violence in 2000 for an event at Roskilde Festival. Taking the idea further afield, Ronni Abergel founded the Human Library Organization which is now operational on five continents, in around 80 countries worldwide.
Each The Human Library™ event is designed to enable interactions that challenge stereotypes and prejudices through conversation. It is a library of individual human beings, drawn from different minority or marginalised groups in the community, that are somehow exposed to stigma, misunderstanding and / or discrimination.
Through two-way dialogues, usually lasting around 30 minutes, members of the public as ‘readers’ encounter and engage with the real-world life-stories of each ‘book’, and the obstacles or judgements they have encountered and overcome. What is innovative, beyond a read-aloud autobiography, is that reader and book can ask each other questions and fine tune each ‘reading’ to the enquiry of the individual reader, jumping to any chapter of the book’s life. It is a safe space to learn about other lives and discover the unique human being behind the generalised book title label.
By challenging prejudices that often leads to stigma and discrimination, Human Library events promote respect for difference and diversity in the community. In addition, they also create social interaction among the varied books who are also discovering each other’s labels and titles. The creation of these storytelling opportunities grows the confidence and communication skills of the books themselves and gives agency back to those who may have been overlooked or judged because of their personal characteristics or circumstances.
Call to participate
Shropshire Libraries are looking for local people who would be interested in volunteering to become a Human Library book. To be considered for this, individuals should have been exposed to stereotypes, stigma or discrimination due to: religious beliefs, sexuality or gender, ethnicity, occupation, lifestyle, social status, political conviction and health and disability related topics.
A series of Human Library™ events are planned for 2018 with events in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth and Ludlow libraries.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:
‘This new partnership between the Human Library organisation and Shropshire Libraries will aim to reduce prejudice and increase respect for diversity and human rights. It’s a great opportunity for individuals to get to know and explore the astounding variety of people living in Shropshire.”
Ronni Abergel, the CEO of the Human Library, said:
“The Human Library challenges stereotypes and prejudices through engaging dialogue with a living book.”
If you would like to become a Human Library book, please follow the link to how to get published in the Human Library http://humanlibrary.org/meet-our-human-books/getting-published-online-book-application-form/ or contact Mirka Duxberry on email@example.com.
Shropshire Libraries shropshire.gov.uk/libraries
Human Library™ http://humanlibrary.org/