The Human Library: A Place To Borrow People Instead of Books

Public libraries have been around since 1850, and everyone is familiar with the process of checking out books to take home and read. Of course, today libraries continue to change and evolve to match new trends involving the way patrons use books and other media. There’s one library, however, that doesn’t loan out books. At the Human Library, the books are people. It’s set up just like a normal library: You check out a “book” on a certain topic and have an allotted amount of time with it — only at the Human Library is the book…….well…….a human. People who volunteer to become “books” make their experiences open and available — typically on issues that people have a difficult time discussing. “Readers” are encouraged to ask questions freely, and they’ll get honest answers in return. It’s really a brilliant idea. The types of books (people) you can borrow include people with autism, people who have altered their appearance through piercings and tattoos, refugees, homeless people, people who are deaf or blind, veterans, police officers, and the list goes on. The library is important because it’s a no-judgment zone. It’s meant to be a safe space where you can ask difficult questions, get  straight answers, and not be judged. While the main Human Library is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, there are U.S. branches are located in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Muncie and Fort Wayne, Indiana.