Take out your prejudice!
Today the Human Library passes a historic marker. Because the CBC in Canada in partnership with local institutions and the HL.org is introducing the worlds very first national Human Library Day by featuring 24 events in 15 cities across the country. With all the commotion of this day, we deem it timely fashion to quickly underline why the Human Library was built to combat prejudice and counter stigma, stereotypes and discrimination.
Many organizations, special interest groups and even political entities have contacted us wanting to use the Human Library concept to promote or advance their own specific cause, group, problem or challenge. Many of which are working with topics that are relevant to present in a Human Library and some so far from relevant, that it should never happen.
The Human Libray must ALWAYS aim to reflect the challenges of people and groups in the community, that are or have been, exposed to stigma, discrimination, stereotyping or prejudice, based on their lifestyle, sexuality, religious beliefs, social background or status, occupation, ethnicity and so forth. It is not intended as a story telling event for interesting people who already have a voice in the community and media. But rather to give a voice, space and visibility to those of often have none or are overlooked as part of their marginalization.
We do not endorse thematic events on single topics, as they do not properly provide readers with a real choice of literature and they make the Human Library into more of a marketing tool and not the instrument that can aid communities in their efforts to build social cohesion and understanding for diversity, reduce intolerance and stigmatization and to help serve the Human Rights work across sectors, communities, countries and continents. Which we so strongly believe it is.
We are proud to be part of a global social movement to bring about a greater understanding for diversity and tolerance and encourage all local organizers to adhere to the guidelines and ensure the proper quality in books that compliment the aims and mission of the Human Library. A neutral Human Library that offers readers a diverse selection of books, a real choice and offer a space for reflection and dialogue about issues we might normally not discuss, with people you might otherwise never meet and talk to about these things.
We wish all readers and books have a great Human Library Day and thank our partners, the many volunteers and the CBC for their efforts to make this a historic day. We hope you get great reviews because you have earned it.
founder of the HL.org
and co-creator of the Human Library
and co-author of the guide to organizers