Purpose: Enable health sciences students and staff to engage in dialogue to challenge common prejudices in a positive manner and to promote empathy for the patients and families they encounter.
Setting/Participants: Academic Health Sciences library serving students and staff in an urban hospital and university. The ‘reader’ participants included students, staff, and faculty from the academic medical center. The ‘book’ participants included volunteers from both inside and outside the institution.
Brief Description: Adapting an international program, The Human Library, the library recruited ‘books’ who had experienced discrimination based on aspects of their lives such as race, sexual orientation, or disability. Two events were held, one in the spring, 2014 and one in the fall, 2014. During the day-long events ‘readers’ borrowed ‘books’ for 1:1 private half-hour conversations. All participants were invited to a concluding reception to discuss their experiences. Library staff monitored the event and gathered evaluations from books and readers.
Conclusions Outcome: The spring event hosted 6 books with 20 readers and the fall event had 7 books with 25 readers. The response from all participants was overwhelmingly positive. The institution featured the event in a campus newsletter. Plans are underway for hosting an annual Human Library.
Wynne, MSLIS, Patricia; Berenbrok, MSLIS, Dorothy E.; Kaplan, MSLIS, AHIP, Gary E.; and Washington, MSLIS, Helena, "Human Books: Social Media, Unplugged" (2015). Academic Commons and Scott Memorial Library Staff Papers and Presentations. Paper 36.