Our first Human Library event on November 8, 2019 was very successful. Thanks to the Human Books for their openness and courage in sharing their stories, to the readers for their participation and support, to the Collins Library, the English department, and the Race and Pedagogy Institute for their sponsorship, and to the dedicated and energetic volunteers for months of planning.
We've been asked if we will offer the Human Library again. We plan to meet with stakeholders about organizational and financial support for the future of this event at the University of Puget Sound.
There were 42 readers who participated in the event. The majority were students, followed by staff, community members, and faculty.
Readers were asked to rate their experience from very good to very poor. There was a 97% rating of very good and good.
Readers were also asked to rate the quality of the event, from very good to very poor. Respondents rated it very good or good.
Readers were asked if the Human Library should be offered again. The majority of participants responded yes.
Must do this again.
I would love for this to be available more often. I’ve always wanted to have events for people to share their narratives and answer questions openly and genuinely. I never could have imagined this format. I’m very impressed and excited.
Thank you for this lovely opportunity to hear a story and get to know a book!
Please hold this event again. Even with fewer books, this is terrific.
This is absolutely wonderful. Please hold again, if not the same books. Perhaps more frequent on a smaller scale?
Ten human books volunteered to participate in the event. Three of the human books were university faculty and staff. The remaining human books were community members and Race & Pedagogy Institute Community Partners.
The stories of the human books covered a variety of topics, from occupation and religion to social and economic status, sexual identity and orientation, and race.
There were 69 readings during the 2 1/2 hour event. Human books were borrowed 4 to 11 times, with an average of 6 times per title.
All the human books who completed an evaluation form indicated that they would be willing to participate as a human book again if the event were offered in the future.
Readers were asked about their experience talking with a human book and the impact it had on them. Representative comments appear below.
I loved learning about a community that I didn’t know much about. Many stereotypes and myths were busted.
I was so inspired by the book about a Christian community apologizing to the queer community that I decided to write a research paper about the lament service for a religion course I’m taking.
I appreciated the one-on-one conversation.
Hearing the book’s experiences reflect mine was very validating.
I was mostly just wanting to share some time with someone brave enough to talk with anyone about personal struggles. Most impactful was simply how comfortable we were just talking and listening.
I really appreciated the vulnerability of the books to share their narratives, particularly with the emotional impact of discrimination and stigma they have faced, as well as their hopes for the future.
I think connecting with someone with a wildly different background impacted me.
Having the opportunity to ask questions and have a conversation with the Human Book I checked out was very meaningful. I feel like my perceptions were changed by hearing her story and discussing religion and education with her.
Meeting people who were so brave and forthcoming about their stories, and to hear them share their struggle and how they were able to overcome their situation through patience, compassion and perseverance.
It was so fascinating to hear about the positive aspects of being in an all black community and the strength that was gained from that.
I think the most impactful aspect of this experience was the Human Book's overall openness and willingness to share their story. It's not easy to share experiences, especially difficult ones, and especially with strangers, and I really appreciate that the Human Books are willing to share. I also enjoyed the insights from the particular Human Book I checked out on her experience going through and working in education, and incorporating her own experiences as a child into teaching to encourage diversity, inclusion, and a better learning experience for her students.
Speaking with someone who has gone through something I have been through was comforting and made me realize that no one is truly alone.