Human Library, Source: Human Library Organisation on Facebook

Human Library in Denmark allows you to borrow a person and learn their story

Human Library in Denmark allows you to borrow a person and learn their story

The not-for-profit organisation offers a safe space for dialogue, giving individuals the chance to unjudge someone

Too often, people face discrimination and prejudice stemming from stereotypes and stigmas surrounding their beliefs, ethnic origins, diagnoses, lifestyle choices, etc. These judgements are most frequently made by people who do not try to understand the individual standing in front of them and what their story is.

Since 2000, an international not-for-profit organisation based in Denmark’s capital city has been tackling this problem. More specifically, it has been giving people the chance to unjudge others with its “Human Library”.

People take on the role of books

At the Human Library, one can select a book (i.e., a person) and borrow it for thirty minutes. During this time, they can listen to the person’s story and ask them all types of questions. On its website, the library explains that it acts as a safe space for dialogue and people are thus encouraged to ask everything they want to know.

Human LibraryThe Human Library in Copenhagen
Source: Human Library Organisation on Facebook

On 10 October, the Human Library Organisation held an event in its Reading Garden in Copenhagen. There, it gave people a wide selection of books to choose from as the programme consisted of the following titles: OCD, PTSD, Misophonia, Lonely, Victim of Incest, Sexually Abused, Deaf-Blind, Rare Handicap, Bisexual, Craving Human Touch, Early Retired, Recovered Alcoholic, Bullied, High IQ, and Giving Child Up for Adoption.

With these titles, the Human Library’s books represent groups in society that face stigmatisation and discrimination. By allowing people to learn more about them, the organisation gives individuals the chance to unjudge one another and become more accepting.

To date, the Human Library has held events in over 80 countries in libraries, museums, festivals, conferences, schools, and universities. What is more, it offers diversity training for companies that seek to raise social and cultural awareness at the workplace.



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