Human library coming to LMC

Students can ‘check out’ people for 20 minutes

On April 15, the LMC library will host an event that will make librarians around the world cringe. It will throw the “no talking in the library” policy out the window. The event, the Human Library LMC, will consist of volunteers who will be available to be checked out by students as human books. These volunteers must be willing to share one thing in their life that is peculiar. It will be held in the Library in L109 from 2-4 pm.

Students will be able to check out one human book at time for a total of 20 minutes. If they would like an additional 20 minutes, an option to renew their human book will be allowed. Students, staff and faculty can all sign up to volunteer. This event was created by a youth organization called “Stop the Violence” in Denmark in the year 2000 in hopes to unite people from all walks of life. It was intended to break down stereotypes, prejudices and establish a better understanding of people not well understood by the general public. Now, more than a decade later, more libraries across the world have been adopting this new methodology.

The idea to make this event a reality for the LMC library came about when Christine Park, Technical Services Librarian, heard it on the radio while driving to work last August. She then shared this idea with her group at a FLEX workshop held at LMC. “People at the workshop seemed enthusiastic about the idea,” said Park “The library thought it would be a great way to contribute to our campus-wide dialog about respect, inclusion and celebrating our diversity,” she continued.

Information from libraries has always been in the form of words and with it being the 21st century, why not change things up. We are in a digital age, books can now be downloaded from the comfort of your own home, but the insight and impact this event can have on someone is immense and not measured by a device. It is a powerful new way to take a glimpse into someone’s life, see it through his or her eyes and for 20 minutes walk in their shoes. “It could be something like growing up in a small town, being a recovering drug addict, what it is like to be homeless or an environmental activist,” said Park. An application must be submitted to volunteer; you can email Park at [email protected] to get your application form.

With a changing world and the diversity LMC has, it’s the perfect event and the topic possibilities are endless. The human books are open books and readers must treat these human books with the upmost respect as it takes courage to share something so personal with a complete stranger. Remember: don’t judge a book by its cover.