Many of us love reading books and getting lost in a story! How about reading a human being instead? Mind blown? Yes, we are talking about reading human beings as books and the concept called The Human Library!
India witnessed a phenomenon called the Human Library Hyderabad last month. The Stylewhack team could not help but be awe-inspired by this! So we thought of exploring what The Human Library is all about –
The Human Library – Concept and the Beginning
“We read to know we’re not alone.”
― William Nicholson,
Well that is the exact concept of a The Human Library! The Human Library is a well thought and designed positive framework for meaningful conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. It is a place one of it’s kind where real people are on loan to readers. This library actually lets you read a human being and his/her real story breaking stereotypes. You can expect difficult questions here which are answered and appreciated. A reader may ask these questions out of curiosity or to know that the reader is not alone in this journey! The concept was started in 2000 by Ronnie Abergel at Copenhagen, Denmark, and since then Human Library is a worldwide phenomenon now.
Human Library Hyderabad – The Indian Human Library Story
Though this was not the first time a human library was arranged in India, nevertheless it was one of the most talked about events. Harshad Fad, the founder of Human Library Hyderabad was intrigued by this scintillating idea and thought of doing one with the help of his friends and peers. According to a media source he said, “It reminded me of my own prejudices towards certain people and how having a conversation with them changed my mind.”
The compilation of the books was the most interesting aspect. Harshad says, “We decided to start with the titles (of the human books), about 10-15 of them, and after that we researched the topics further. We screened the human books and they had to fill up a form and register with the Human Library website.” The last catalogue comprised of 10 human books. 10 human books from different backgrounds and with diverse stories ready to motivate the readers and debunk stereotypes!
The Reading Session
As this chapter is based on the guidelines laid by The Human Library organization, each reader got a time of 20-30 minutes per book per session. In these 30 minutes, the reader could quench the thirst for answers, knowledge or just a good conversation about someone’s story. These reading sessions might have helped someone to choose a particular career, someone may have related to the book or someone might have just confronted their prejudices. Nevertheless, these 30 minutes might have changed someone’s life!
When Books Speak
Two of the human books from the catalogue spoke about their experience as told to a media source –
Rachel Lewis, a human book titled Of Dreams and Desires said, “It’s easier telling your story to strangers who don’t judge you. There was a lot of curiosity and people had many questions. But it was a very nice experience — a lot of people listened to our stories and came out with their own experiences, as they tried to find common ground with us. People lead such interesting lives and I hope more people join to tell their stories.”
Aditya Raja, a human book titled Self-Loathing Narcissist, who is an LGBTQ activist said, “I was checked out five times, and we exceeded our assigned period every time. People had many questions, and it helped me understand their perspective as well. Yes, there were people who were homophobic but I asked them their reasons and explained them my reasons. One of the main reasons for discrimination against the queer community is the lack of awareness and understanding. But an event like this, and calling people books, can help to get a conversation started.”
Interesting and intriguing, right?
Well, the Human Library Hyderabad is slated to organize another event soon in April 2017 and you can subscribe to their FB page for further details. The library is going to have 25 books and is expecting to surpass 100 plus readers this time!
Stylewhack team wishes Harshad and his team all the very best for their future endeavours! We hope that these human books help the society to cast off the heavy shackles of stereotyping!