A new partnership between University College Copenhagen and the Human Library Organization means that all future social workers will be invited to join a Human Library event, as a part of their education.

Twice every year the new students at the Institute for  Social Work will, as part of the intro process for the education, become readers of the Human Library. A meeting that will give the new students an early insight into the many shades of humanity, and that behind each title there is an individual life story and understanding.

“It is part of a bigger vision that is now being fulfilled and an ideal situation for all parties. The agreement ensures that our books are read by knowledge hungry students who will soon work with many of the topics we have on the bookshelf. So, I think we are hitting the nail on the head with this one. ”says Ronni Abergel, founder of the Human Library.

The partnership has become a reality after the Human Library’s first visit to Metropol in 2017, on the 80th anniversary of the Social Workers education. The experience was so positive for all parties that it now becomes a more formalized cooperation.

“The Human Library represents the entire wide palette of humanity. As a social worker, it is very important to be curious and open, and to be able to create a respectful meeting with all people. We have an education where we pride ourselves, on being very close to the praxis. It is the new students who will take part in he Human Library, so it will be clear from the start what kind of reality they will enter in their future profession. “Says Helle Walsted Samuelsen, Head of Education at the Institute for Social Work at the University College Copenhagen.

Students gets inspired by the books and their stories

The informal meeting that the method creates for both parties has already proved useful in several educational programs. Since 2016, the Human Library has partnered with SOPU Copenhagen, regarding the education of the future Social and Health Assistants. Helle Walsted also points out the academic benefits that the students receive through the meeting with the human books.

“The pre-understandings that everyone has, we must be particularly aware of and be able to put aside – and instead meet THE HUMAN. Our most important task is to be able to see the person and create the connection – every time! Therefore, human curiosity – besides knowledge and professionalism – is central to the profession of a social worker. This only takes place if you can see the crevices in an individual’s dominant story and see the human being behind.”

It is not only at the Human Library and at the institute that the cooperation brings excitement. Helle Walsted experienced that the students also expressed great joy by being able to enter into an open dialogue with the members of the Human Library’s diverse book collection.

“The students thought it was very inspiring! They have been very happy to get this insight and that someone was willing to share their personal experiences and background. They said that after the Human Library event it has become more clear to them what their future profession offers – a meeting with another person. At the Human Library, they get a unique opportunity to meet reality’s diversity. “

The partnership entails that the Human Library will be part of the introduction week, twice a year. At the events all the new students will be invited to borrow books from the Human Library’s diverse book collection.