My weekends were getting boring few months back, so I used to search book clubs or events related to books on social media. When I came to know about Human Library, the word itself fascinated me to search more about it. I researched everything about Human Library Concept and thus decided to bring one in my City.
At a time when depression and mental health issues had created a fracture, when a political line was changing in India, when the internet was going crazy over patriotism and terrorism, when the debate was between communalism and secularism, when fake news and trolling becoming a trend; Human Library was a timely and necessary reality check.
The Human Library is a concept created by RonniAbergel, DanyAbergel, ChristofferErichsen and AsmaMouna of Danish youth organisation Stop ‘The Violence’ in 2000 and is now operational in five continents. It is a library of human beings and individuals who represent a group in the community that is somehow exposed to stigma, prejudice and/or discrimination.
The Human Library offers its patrons to become readers, by taking a person out on loan for a conversation on the topic/issue that they represent. Conversations are offered to the duration of thirty minutes and this is not a storytelling session but an experience sharing with built-in Q&A.
When I was putting everything on the line for an event, the toughest part was to find Human Books. While searching for stories I got to know amazing people who had experienced prejudice due to issues such as race, sex, age, disability, sexual preference, gender identity, class, religion/belief, lifestyle choices and were still going strong and motivating and inspiring lives around them and through the whole process, I didn’t even motivated myself but decided to give a platform to those who wanted to remove this stereotypes and prejudices prevailing in the society.
On the interaction with prospective Human books and after knowing them, I confronted through opinions that shook my head and plunged me to stare out in disbelief that anyone could fail to see that every one of us is an individual with different backgrounds, personalities and lives. The fact is that each person should be respected for what they
have to offer as a person and not simply lumped into a category based
solely on opinion and fear. We are often cruel and quick to point a finger at things we don’t understand.
I wanted to offer conversation that can challenge prejudices and stereotypes prevailing in this society. To share different opinions and attitudes with different backgrounds, personalities and lives. Opportunities to volunteer and socially interact with people from backgrounds other than their own and give a voice to people often dispossessed of one.
What is most encouraging about the human library is that it allows the reader’s a space to directly confront their prejudices by choosing a subject they don’t understand. Through listening to the experiences of the books, the reader is able to connect to its subjects in a deeply personal way because these books say a lot more inside than their cover outside. In a very practical way, it shows us that if we make the effort to listen to and understand people, we quickly begin to see beyond our own world and the fact we are united in more ways than simply being human. Human Library is a methodology to create a community where one can open them up and can share life lessons with others.
I along with my team members’ tremendous support; started working on it and with the help of these amazing people, Human Library Surat became possible.
Kudos to team Human Library Surat.