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Human Library Event

Why did the Diversity Programming Board choose this project?
A magazine article on the Toronto Public Library’s Human Library project started the conversation amongst the board about bringing this type of event to RCC. After more research and the wonderful advice, guidance, and reference materials from the Toronto Library staff, the board decided to try its first pilot program at the Redwood Campus.

Human Libraries around the world have enabled groups to break stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive and sometimes humorous manner. It is a concrete, easily transferable and affordable way of promoting tolerance and understanding and sharing knowledge on a wide range of issues, and not only promotes tolerance but encourages the celebration of differences.
How does it work?
The Redwood Campus library will have human books available for library customers to sign out to have one-on-one conversations in a quiet space inside the library for a half an hour each.
Who can participate?
Any RCC student or staff member with a library card. Don’t have one yet? Stop by an RCC library to find out how easy it is to be issued your very own library card.
Who are the human books in the collection?
Volunteers from all walks of life and with a variety of perspectives and varied backgrounds and life experiences.
How do I check out a human book?

Stop by the RWC library the day of the event, April 23rd, to see which titles are available. First come, first serve.

History of the Human Library
A Copenhagen youth organization called “Stop the Violence” was formed by five friends in the early 1990’s as a response to the stabbing of one of their comrades. The group’s focus was to use non-violence to raise awareness and use peer-group education to mobilize Danish youth; within a few years they had close to 30,000 members. In 2000, a local festival invited Stop the Violence to create an activity for visitors. The group chose to develop an event that would center on one-on-one dialogue and break down barriers; thus the first human library was then born.

Over 30 countries around the world now hold human libraries and some public libraries even have permanent collections. Countries expected to start their own programs include Brazil, China, Columbia, Cyprus, Malaysia and South Africa.

To learn more about human libraries around the world, visit

Interested in being a volunteer “book”?
  • Read our Human Library book invitation
  • Once I’ve requested to be a “book”, what happens next?
    • Our process will be to collect information on interested “human books” and then as a board we’ll decide which ones to select for the program; notifications will be sent out around the first of April.
    • Once you’ve been selected you’ll receive an orientation packet and a few other documents to read through. There will be a minimal amount of paperwork to fill out and a 30 minute orientation the morning of the event.

You’ll also be given ideas for conversation icebreakers, examples of how to redirect dialogue, and other helpful tips. Readers will be given a list of guidelines and staff will be circulating throughout the event if assistance is needed.

Read about other Human Library projects