Books, movies and CDs aren’t the only things you can check out at the Main Library! For one day only, Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 1 PM to 4 PM in the auditorium, the Main Library will be expanding our offerings to include people. The Long Beach Human Library is a collaboration between the Long Beach Public Library, Long Beach Free School (through Catalyst Network of Communities), the Long Beach Time Exchange and Eayikes!
Human Library events help to combat prejudice by setting up a safe space for one-on-one conversation between participants, or “readers,” and people from various unique backgrounds, or “human books.” Just like at normal libraries, readers “check out” the human books they’re interested in to learn more about the subject. Unlike a book, readers can ask human books questions and engage in non-confrontational discussions.
Past Human Library books included vegans, funeral directors, immigrants, police, people with disabilities, drag queens, cancer patients, ex-gang members, people who are HIV positive, graffiti artists, people who are transgender, former prostitutes, etc. We are interested in anyone with a unique background or experience.
So far we have a formerly incarcerated woman who helps assist other formerly incarcerated women transition back into community life, a transgender person, an advocate for public breast feeding and a retired police officer. The planned collection of human books to check out on May 31 will number around 15. Human books can be checked out for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, with one renewal if no one is waiting for the book.
Do you know anyone who has a unique story to tell? Perhaps they have been subject to misconception, discrimination or prejudice in the past. They should be comfortable discussing their “subject” and receiving (respectful/non-rude) questions from participants, aka readers.
If you know anyone who would be a good “book,” you can nominate that individual in April through the Long Beach Time Exchange. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and type Human Library Nomination in the subject line. Notify your nominee before sending the email to ensure they are interested in participating.
Human Libraries promote tolerance and celebrate differences. The first Human Library was held in Denmark in 2000 as part of an anti-violence movement. Since then, hundreds of Human Libraries have been organized all over the world. The first U.S. Human Library was held at the Santa Monica Public Library in 2009. For more information, contact Rachael Rifkin at email@example.com.
The Main Library is located at 101 Pacific Avenue at Ocean in Long Beach at Pacific Avenue. To learn more about Long Beach Public Library services and events, please call 562-570-7500 or visit www.lbpl.org.
Long Beach Public Library, founded in 1896, serves a diverse urban city of nearly half a million people. The Long Beach Public Library system includes Main Library, eleven unique Neighborhood Libraries, and a vibrant online presence. With an emphasis on providing free and equal access to information and support for lifelong-learning, the Library offers books, media, downloads, databases, Internet access, Family Learning Centers and a variety of events ranging from story times to literacy and cultural programs.