HCC hosts its first Human Library

Mathis Thoerrisen, Editor-in-Chief

  Dec. 8, HCC hosted its first “Human Library” at the Dale Mabry Campus. The human library concept originated in Roskilde, Demark, at an annual music festival. The idea is that instead of checking out a book to learn something new, you check out a “human book,” a person that you can ask questions about a topic that they have experience with. The initiative to bring the concept to HCC was made by Manuel Sotomayor as a project for the Social Justice League, one of the student clubs at the Dale Mabry campus.Even though the human

  Even though the human library was hosted outside the cafeteria on a cold December evening, the participants were not deterred. Plenty of different “books” were available for checkout. You could learn about Atheism and Christianity, what it is like to be a Veteran or a Single mom, you could even take a look into the life of an Activist. All the “books” were seated at a table with an empty chair next to them, allowing the curious “reader” to sit down and have a conversation.

  The conversation could take the form of the “reader” asking questions and the “book” answering, or it could be a more casual conversation about the topic at hand, or something else entirely, all depending on the people having the conversation.

  The purpose of the event is to help people open their minds about other people, cultures, and things they might not be accustomed to hearing.

  The Dale Mabry Human Library had 18 “books” available and roughly 25 “readers.” The crowd attended the event seemed to be having fun. Sotomayor said, “The most difficult part was to find appropriate books, not only do they have to be knowledgeable about their topic, but willing to talk openly about things that sometimes can be awkward.”

  One of the “books.” Atheist Daniel Tartaglia, said he wanted to join the Human Library as a way to open up discussion about his Atheism while avoiding the confrontational nature of debate. When asked about the tone of the conversations, Tartaglia said, “By and large they were quite comfortable. Interlocutors were generally approaching the subject with genuine
curiosity. One young lady did attempt to challenge my views, but phrased her questions more as a ‘devil’s advocate’ would, rather than as if she personally opposed them, so even that conversation was friendly in nature.”

  The Social Justice League has recently changed its name to Community Based Activism (CBA) and is now under the leadership of club president, Jacob Tillotson.

  The CBA wants to make theuman Library a reoccurring event, and the club is now in the process of organizing the second Human Library.

  The event will again take place at Dale Mabry campus. It is scheduled for April 20, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tillotsen says, “The human library is an effort to humanize certain demographics that people might not be exposed to. Our goal is to foster empathy on campus by showing people the struggles and triumphs of other people.”