Friday, February 19, 2016

Would you like to visit a human library?

The first Human Library opened in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2000. Actual people volunteer to serve as "books" in the library and may be "borrowed" by patrons for 30 minutes. Loans can be extended if both agree more than 30 minutes are needed. Within four days after the first Human Library opened, a policeman spoke with a graffiti writer, a politician spoke with a youth activist, and a football fan chatted with a feminist.

                                                               Courtesy of
Depending on your interests, you can visit a Human Library to "borrow" a homeless man, or a political refugee, or a police officer or a single mom or a Muslim or a former gang member or a welfare recipient or someone who was sexually abused. The list goes on and on. "It's meant to be a space to ask difficult questions and not be judged," says founder Ronni Abergel. Since they began in Denmark, the Human Libraries have spread to over 70 nations including the United States. Abergel says, "When you meet our books, no matter which one, you will say, 'We are different from each other, but there are more things we have in common than are keeping us apart." Perhaps a Human Library is needed in Washington, DC to help lawmakers cross the political aisle? For more information, visit

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