03 March 2016

A Human Library

On Tuesday we held our Human Library Event. It was amazing.We filled almost every "Reader" spot available and afterward everyone -- Books, Readers, Moderators -- told us what a wonderful experience it was.

Just a recap: a Human Library is an event which encourages people to not judge a book by it's cover. Volunteers agree to be Human "Books" and share their stories. "Readers" can check out the Books, hear the stories, and then engage in meaningful conversation. Many, similar events allow for one-on-one conversation but we chose to have small groups meet with the Books. Moderators helped move the conversations along.

It was a lot of work, I'll be honest. But I was invited to work with a wonderful group of people to figure out logistics, find Books, create signs, recruit Moderators, etc. We had a lot of details to organize.

And in the end, it was beautiful. As one of the organizers, I was too busy running around to check out a Book. But I did get to walk around during each session and simply observe. It was hard not to tear up a bit, seeing people of many ages, cultures, and ethnicities sitting together, talking, listening, and sharing.

I heard people say these things afterward:

"I never saw the library more alive as it was yesterday."

"The room was buzzing all morning."

"The energy was palpable."

"That was life changing."

I know there are crazy things going on in our world. I know there are bad people out there. But I can't help but wonder: how much of the awfulness might be solved if people would just talk? And listen? Human beings have a lot of things to disagree about. But our stories are more similar that we realize. What would happen if we focused on what we have in common? On what brings us together? Instead of what tears us apart?

I like to think the world would be a better place.

For a visual representation of the event, here are a few photos from the Normandale Community College Facebook Page:

Faculty volunteers Shelly Freese and Aimee DuBois assist Human Library session attendee.
Posted by Normandale Community College on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mari Harris (right) is a "book" participating in the Human Library.
Posted by Normandale Community College on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Amy Tix is a "book" that is part of the Human Library session.
Posted by Normandale Community College on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

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