Book of the Month: May
With our monthly portraits – Book of the Month series – we want to highlight the courageous books that we publish all over the world and allow you to gain some insight into their experiences. The book of the month for May is nothing short of a Human Library classic. One of very few books to be published in different countries and also a rare edition to offer readers insight into three different stigmatized issues!
Batoul, a 33 year old Kuwait-born, is part of the Human Library Book Depot in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has been a book for 10 years. She has been published in Denmark and the United Kingdom, and has participated in events ranging from public libraries, schools and colleges, festivals and at corporate events with our Diversity Partners. This spring Batoul was published in Season 2 of the Human Library TV-Show on TV2-Lorry.
Currently the primary topic that readers are inviting Batoul out on loan to talk about is her experiences as a Victim of Stalking, but she also gets many questions about her background as a Muslim.
“… the most common questions from readers include “but don’t you know the man who stalked you?” or ”he is an ex-boyfriend right?” or “What kind of help could you get?””
And as a seasoned and experience book, she helps readers gain insight into the reality of being a victim of stalking – and how it affects your life. She makes a point to her readers, that stalkers are not always a person you know – and in this case, Batoul offers a take on what it’s like to have a complete stranger obsessed with you. This understanding is a very central part of her motivation to continue to be a book, as she explains:
“I believe that people are very much alike and if given an opportunity despite of prejudice to get to know one another, we actually do just that. Being a book gives me that opportunity.”
The unity between the readers & the books
Beyond helping in advancing understanding and tolerance in the community, there is a clear personal gain built-in to being published from the Human Library:
“The unity of both books and readers, of human. The 30 minutes of real life actual people sharing confidentiality and trust, is a valuable part of why this is right. That meeting between people that is so natural yet around sensitive topics is amazing.”
It’s that authentic meeting – between real people who have honest questions and take part in real conversations – that is one the main reasons staying on for so long, as a book:
“It is such a rewarding part of my life. I always say that if the readers get just half of what I’m getting then I’m happy.”
With a decade of experiences and honest conversations, with a huge number of readers, it’s hard for her to pin-point a single great experience.
“I have tons of those. Each event is a new adventure. And among the books, we expand each other’s horizon, we read each other and we meet our readers in a common spirit and mission. I have personally gotten some of my boundaries pushed and I have gotten to understand myself a lot better through the Human Library. So to be able to do that while creating memories with amazing people around is a blessing to me.”
There are many ways to become part of the Human Library or to allow the Human Library to become part of you.
“Because in the end you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Spreading awareness is an important part of my title, but also in talking with others you learn bout yourself and you gain access to different aspects to view your situation from, I find that very interesting and helpful to me as well.”
One advice for readers, no matter where in the world they are joining the bookshelf from:
“Dont hold back, use this opportunity to ask freely, ask the questions you really want to know the answer to. We are here to share our answers with you.”