The human library

June 2017

Human stories straight from the heart

Conversations can be therapeutic. A good talk can lift your spirits and make you feel hopeful in the blink of an eye. It is also said that reading a book is akin to having a captivating conversation, where you get to talk to characters sometimes too different and sometimes surprisingly similar to your own self. How often have we wanted to extend these conversations with our favourite characters beyond the pages? What may seem like a fantasy of a wishful reader has been made real by the Human library initiative. Human library started as a movement in Copenhagen by Ronni Abergel and his colleagues to break free from stereotypes that distance people from one another. It was imagined that just like borrowing books in a library, if people could be given a chance to narrate their stories to others on a personal level then a more empathetic society could be built. The success of the movement and the novelty of its approach to move towards a harmonic community life has made it a global phenomenon.

In 2016, a human library event was held in India at IIM indore. Subsequently, a human library was started by a bunch of enthusiastic students in Hyderabad who wanted to bring some positive change in society through sharing community stories. Harshad Fad, the founder of Hyderabad human library event, has shared in his interviews on how the exercise of sharing stories can often help us understand and undo unfounded biases against people. Anyone who has an interesting tale to share with the world can register at the human library website as a human book. In the human library events, each reader is allowed to pick from the catalogue of human books to have an engaging conversation with their books. In our over-worked lives where we spend more time staring at screens than having face to face interactions, the human library initiative is a gentle reminder that we should indeed talk a little more freely and listen a bit more deeply to those around
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