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During the month of April, the following Human Library events are happening in the CNY region (some during National Library Week)! How does a “Human Library” work, you ask? Community volunteers sign up to be human “books” in order to share their story or a particular aspect of their lives. Books typically have titles that represent a stigmatized or stereotyped group of people in the community. This could be a religious minority, a sexual minority or other members of the community who are exposed to general misconceptions, stigma, stereotyping and/or prejudice. The purpose is to challenge what we think we know about other members of the community and to challenge our stereotypes and prejudices in a positive framework, where difficult questions are accepted, expected and appreciated.

You, the reader, “borrow” the books (usually for around 20 minutes or so) to hear their stories and ask questions. The format can vary between events, so be sure to use the provided links for more information.

Wednesday, April 5
Syracuse University Bird Library
Noon – 4 p.m.
Learn more about the event here

Thursday, April 6
SUNY ESF Moon Library
Room 110
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Learn more about the event here

Monday, April 10
Liverpool Public Library
6 – 8 p.m.
Learn more about the event here
Sign up here

Saturday, April 15
Beauchamp Library
1 – 4:30 p.m.
Learn more about the event and sign up here

Here’s a preview of “books” that will be available at the above locations:

Syracuse University Bird Library’s Human “Book” Titles

  • An American Educator in Afghanistan
  • Experiences of an Iranian Woman
  • Finding My Home: Activism and Self-Discovery as a Disability Advocate
  • Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Onondaga Culture
  • An International Student’s Journey from Central Asia to Syracuse
  • Portuguese History and Culture: Stories from a First-Generation Portuguese-American
  • Suicide and Mental Health
  • Telling the Untold Story
  • You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover

Liverpool Public Library’s Human “Book” Titles

  • Why We March & More: Peaceful Activism Today
  • Standing Among the Pharaohs
  • An Armchair Adventure and Guide to the (not so) Secret Places We Create and Visit Nightly
  • Retune Your Body! Quintessence Vibration Sound Healing
  • Unreal Adventures of an Earth Scientist

Beauchamp Library’s Human “Book” Titles and Summaries

  • OG’s Against Violence: Clifford will share his journey of violence on the streets of Syracuse, NY and will speak about his involvement with the Syracuse Chapter of OG’s Against Violence.
  • Misery to Ministry: Local Author and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Mary, will speak about her abusive childhood and how she was able to overcome it and now is able to help those who have been through similar situations.
  • Jason’s Connection: Syracuse University Grad Student, Jason, will speak about autism and disability awareness. He will also share his story of “Jason’s Connection”, the organization he founded in 2013 and continues to work at.
  • My Purpose: Alamin will speak about his involvement in a Chicago gang and his struggles of being homeless and how that inspired him to become the founder of We Rise Above The Streets, a nonprofit that serves bag lunches to the homeless.
  • Step Up Stories: Kate’s journey has been a series of life events that presented a “step up” or “lay down” moment, the loss of her father in 2011 and a friend years later. She founded Step Up Moment in hopes of giving participants confidence to find their “step up” moment
  • Decide: Motivational Speaker, George, will talk about the importance of just deciding and the characteristics of someone who’s decided and empower themselves. He will share his life story in relation to the book in which his story is published.
  • Keeping the Community In Focus: Photojournalist, Quindell, will share his story of growing up in the city of Syracuse, NY. Most of his childhood he lived on the City’s Southside where he played pop warner football for Kirk Park and attended city schools.
  • Moving Past Abuse: Ardena, personal life coach, will talk about the 7 spiritual lessons she learned after surviving a 10-year abusive relationship and how she transformed her pain in to passion, purpose and profit.
  • Team A.N.G.E.L.: While growing up, Ed participated in community programs which had a positive impact on his life. Noticing city programming cuts he founded the youth organization Team A.N.G.E.L, which stands for Avoid Negative Garbage Enjoy Life.
  • My Journey: Dark but Well Lit: Kim’s father had a history of severe depression and schizophrenia. He was successful; graduated from Villanova University. After he died she too went through severe clinical depression. After a few inpatient stays and job losses she obtained her Master’s.
  • iapologize: Due to a lack of guidance Rashawn was in detention from ages 9-15. At 17 he went to prison for making a decision that led to a man losing his life. He began taking the steps needed to change while in prison and since has become a local author and mentor.

Interested in holding a Human Library event at your institution or in sharing your experience planning a Human Library event (and hearing from others who plan similar events)? Join our Human Library special interest group (SIG)! Email to find out more and to have your name added to our list.