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Library Human Library

5th Annual Human Library

November 2020

What is the Human Library?

The Human Library® is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. ‘Human Books’ are Fairfield University students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have volunteered to share their story to break down barriers based on race, religion, sexual orientation, class, gender identity, lifestyle choices, disability or other aspects of their life. The Human Library provides the opportunity for the Fairfield University community to share and understand the experiences of others.

Why should I attend?

Some reasons why: 1.) Because you want to have open and honest conversations that can lead to greater acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion in the community. This is an innovative approach to challenging stigma, stereotypes and prejudices through a non confrontational and friendly conversation. 2.) Because the Human Library is a worldwide movement for social change (in over 80 countries) and you want to experience it. 3.) Because you could meet someone new on campus! No small talk. An authentic conversation.

What happens at the event? And what am I expected to do as a reader?

The readers wait in line to select a book to talk to from a list of book titles and descriptions. A staff member will ask you to come over to meet the reader and you can choose any place to sit and have your conversation. Books share their unique story to a reader/readers. Readers are encouraged to ask questions or share as well. This is a conversation take could take around 10-20 minutes. We provide you with “starter questions” that you will come up with, in case you need some help figuring out what to say.  Just be yourself - that will help to relax you and to relax the person you’re talking with. After the conversation you will fill out a brief reflection. You are also welcome to get back in line and talk to another book! After the conversation the reader takes a reflection and you can come back to the main event area to be “checked in” to speak to more readers, or you can take a break in the designated break room (stocked with snacks and drinks). You will take a reflective survey at the end too. To better understand what a Human Library looks like, you can watch a video from our first event.

Who attends the event?

Mostly Fairfield University students attend. Staff, faculty, and alumni attend too. Occasionally there are folks from the surrounding community that come too but this is predominantly a campus event that is only promoted internally to Fairfield University.

Can I attend with my friends?

By all means you can come to the Human Library with your friends, however we try to pair each book to one reader. The event is designed for one on one conversations but sometimes the book is okay talking to a group of two or three people, but it is up to each book to decide.

How much of a time commitment is it? 

You can drop by anytime between 1-4:30pm or 6-8:30pm session. You do not need to arrive at the start of the session start time but do try to arrive at least 30 minutes before a session ends. Due to the popularity of the event, there can be a line of readers waiting to talk to books. While you wait on line you can review the list of books available and read through some more event information. Conversations with the book you choose could last anywhere from 10-20 minutes. It just depends on the natural flow of your conversation and if you want to ask questions.

How do I know what to ask or how to respond to the book's story?

We provide a printed list of suggested questions when you arrive. You can use it to guide your conversation or you can come up with your own.

How do I sign up to be a book at the next Human Library?

We would love to have you be a book! The application form is typically available the first week of September (on this site and Life@Fairfield) and we will send emails to the entire campus to advertise.

Books 2020