Share Your Story at This Year's Virtual Human Library

Share Your Story at This Year's Virtual Human Library on Oct. 23

Human Library

Now through October 2, the DiMenna-Nyselius Library is actively recruiting students, faculty, staff, and alumni to be books in this year’s Human Library.

On Friday, October 23, the DiMenna-Nyselius Library will host Fairfield University's fifth annual Human Library, an event designed to build a positive framework for conversations that challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. Built on one-on-one conversations, individuals who have a story to share will volunteer to be "books" and will sit virtually with event attendees to tell their stories as a way to break down barriers based on race, religion, sexual orientation, class, gender identity, lifestyle choices, disability, or other aspects of their lives. 

Both books and event attendees have reported the ways in which this event has positively impacted them. In fact, 97% of people who volunteered as books last year reported that they learned about their own social identity through their participation in the event. Now through October 2, DiMenna-Nyselius Library staff and members of the planning committee are actively recruiting students, faculty, staff, and alumni to be books in this year’s Human Library.

While other organizations chose to cancel their annual Human Libraries due to Covid-19 restrictions, co-chairs Barbara Ghilardi, assessment librarian, and Lisa Thornell, student engagement and outreach librarian, felt very strongly that this experiential learning opportunity must be carried on. Thornell shared, “The Human Library offers a space for difficult dialogues which we feel is particularly important during this time when we all are looking for ways to connect authentically with each other. It also gives our community the opportunity to learn about others’ experiences and identities as we work towards building empathy and creating a stronger community to support those who have experienced some form of discrimination.”

This year's event will be held virtually on Zoom. Although participants cannot gather in person, Human Library organizers hope to spark long-lasting change that will bring about unity in society, regardless of physical location.

Here is what a couple of books from last year had to say about their participation in the event:

  • “I wanted to have the opportunity to push against a stereotype and preconceived notions about individual experiences…”
  • “I have lived in shame for two years and I knew I needed to share it. Human Library seemed like a safe space to do so.”

Sessions will be 30 minutes with a brief orientation for general guidelines and discussion framing. Books have 20 minutes to share their stories and to converse about readers' questions and comments. Following the session, readers will be asked to provide a brief reflection on the experience.

To learn more and to sign up to be a book, please visit

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