For the first time, the Human Library was a part of the Amsterdam Pride in August. We gathered 10 books from our book depots around Europe and published them during pride week.
From Paris to Amsterdam to Borrow an Open Book
With support from our friends at Heineken, the Human Library Book Cafe was open daily to readers at Café Amstel Hoeck. Three days in a row our Readers could borrow a Book while enjoying local drinks and dutch snacks. As always the services of the Human Library are free and so we registered more than 120 loans to readers. We were joined by Readers from Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Switzerland, USA, and Uruguay. One reader traveled from Paris in order to experience the Human Library:
“I traveled to Amsterdam specifically for the Human Library event as there were no events planned in France for the time being. I have been aware of the Human Library for some time after reading about it in the news. Being able to meet people who have such unique identities or are easily labeled or discriminated against seemed like a unique opportunity“, said Orestis Christoforides, who took a day off from work to become our reader.
All Access to our Bookshelf
In Amsterdam, our readers had a free choice of topics from our bookshelf and it was common that readers would borrow more than one book during their visit.“Time flew and I ended up staying for 5 hours and reading 5 different books”, said Orestis Christoforides about his experience.
Among the topics, readers could choose from were Bisexual, Holocaust Survivor, Self Harm, Bipolar, Victim of Abuse, Victim of Stalking, Muslim, Transgender, and Body Modified to name but a few and as always our Librarians encouraged our Readers to be brave and curious when asking their questions: “Reading a human book is a fantastic experience. We are encouraged to ask very direct questions, so the conversations were incredibly open and comfortable. What pushed you to see a therapist? Have you done time? Do you have any prejudices of your own?”, says Orestis Christoforides.
Here is what some of our Readers had to say:
“It was really awesome to hear someone else’s experience that is so different from my own, and I felt super comfortable asking questions, which was lovely! Thank you!!”
“I think I’m just amazed at how much courage and openness it takes to tell strangers your stories and I’m grateful that the Human Library exists.”
“My conversation with a transgender person was a beautiful philosophical exploration with many great insights: like there is no truth, don’t make assumptions on how people behave.”
“There was a lot more going on behind the title. The books exposed their own human limitations and weaknesses very honestly, which is what I ended up relating to. I can say I returned from my short journey with the impression of having made friends and feeling more capable at “unjudging” others, even people which I disagree with (or even dislike!)”
A thank you to our partners from Heineken for making it possible for us to contribute to the Amsterdam Pride Week program.