UMass Amherst Libraries Host Human Library on Earth Day

Check Out a Living Book from the Human Library on Earth Day

Founded in 2001 in Denmark to promote human rights and social cohesion, the human library project seeks to create greater understanding between people and provide a safe space where we can learn more about each other and work through stereotypes and discrimination present in our community in order to ultimately to forge new connections between people.

If you missed the Human Library Project when it took place at Williams College this past February, you have another chance to participate on Earth Day, this time in the Pioneer Valley! The UMass Amherst Libraries invite the public and the campus community to participate in the Human Library on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, from 10am-2pm in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Learning Commons (Lower Level), at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The event is free and open to the public.

Originating in Denmark, the Human Library is an international phenomenon, having occurred in 65 countries over the past 12 years. This event promotes dialogue and encourages understanding by providing a safe and encouraging environment within which people of different backgrounds can interact and learn from each other. 

As part of a campus-wide celebration of Earth Day, the Human Library provides an opportunity to “check out” a “living book” for 15 minutes of informal one-on-one conversation.

Some examples of “living books” available for “check out” include: Army ROTC cadet, belly dancer, someone living with Crohn’s disease, mushroom farmer, nudist, Puerto Rican living with cerebral palsy, rabbi, vegan, and witch.

Families can utilize the Human Library as a learning experience for kids of all ages. Young children can learn about what it’s like to grow up in another part of the world, while older kids might learn from the same human book about what it’s like to come from a different cultural background but live in the United States, immersed in American culture.

 [Photo credit: Liesbeth Bernaerts]

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