On March 4, I participated in my first Human Library event organized by our University Libraries. It was our library’s fourth time hosting this. I enjoyed my experience a lot and would like to share with you what it was like and why you should consider participating next year.
The Human Library idea originated from Denmark in 2000. It was a face-to-face conversation where the readers and human “books” interact with each other. In a simple sense, it is like reading a book, but a real one, and you can ask questions and offer your own reflection along the way. I volunteered this year to be a human book and my goal was to tell my own life stories and get to know other Aggies. During that afternoon, I was “checked out” twice, each for 30 minutes, by a reader who is also a member of our Aggie community. We talked about cross-cultural experience, navigating the American classroom and campus culture, and shared many laughs. It was an eye-opening experience for me, and I certainly hope that my readers enjoyed talking to me as well.
The reason you should consider being a human book is that it will give you a chance to take a step back and reflect on your own life story (or you can also tell a story of a person you know, giving them a voice). You will meet other human books and readers from very diverse backgrounds and, by just talking to them, you will realize how different people are and about some of the amazing journeys that have led us all to Aggieland. It’s a fabulous opportunity to meet new friends and validate your own feelings.
I certainly think those who are comfortable enough to share should consider taking part in this. Plus, there are pro volunteers on site that can help you if any situation becomes too intense. As a human book, you always have the option to end a conversation if you don’t feel like continuing. Also, if you only want to check out books and read them, you can do that too. You don’t have to be a book. So, mark your calendar and see what next year’s Human Library is like!
Mingqian Liu is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Architecture