Human Library Event Helps Participants Move Beyond Stereotypes

Williams College Invites Community to Experience the Human Library on February 10 & 11, 2012

Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 10, from 11am-3pm. and Saturday, Feb. 11, from 1-3pm. at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required. The Human Library at Williams contains 35 to 40 books: living people who have volunteered to be “checked out” for 25 to 30 minutes each. As a reader, a visitor will be able to start a one-on-one conversation with any book in the Library. This is an opportunity to borrow another person for a given time and ask them what you want to know. The goal is for members of our community—both on campus and off—to learn more about each other, to explore and move beyond stereotypes, and to develop a greater understanding of each person’s unique story.

The idea of checking a person out from a library sounds like it came out of a futuristic science fiction novel.  In reality, it’s actually part of Williams College’s Human Library event in Williamstown, MA!  Instead of a traditional library where books and checked out and read, the human library is full of people who can be “checked out” and asked questions!  The human books will answer questions and help explain to their “readers” everything there is to know about their topic.  The goal of the event is to build community, encourage community members to learn more about each others’ life experiences, and to help the community begin to move beyond stereotypes.

Human books are available on topics like evangelical Christianity, feminism, Olympic athletics, Iraq War veterans, and more.  Each topic is something that the human book has experienced in their own lives, and the information provided is firsthand.  The event is appropriate for teens and parents- older kids can learn about acceptance and reducing prejudice, and can use the event to supplement cultural studies and/or studies of race, gender, and privilege.  The Human Library will be open at the college’s Paresky Center on February 10th from 11am-3pm and February 11th from 1-3pm.  For more information, call 413-527-9277.  The event is free and open to all.

A campus map can be found on the web at

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