Dimmena-Nyselius Library’s annual Human Library event will take place this Thursday Nov. 8 from 1-4:30 p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m. on the main floor. The Human Library is an opportunity for students to take out “human books” and hear personal stories from peers and other Fairfield University community members.
The purpose of the event is to open up a dialogue between students and “books” that provides a new perspective on the lives of others walking around our campus each day. The event will raise questions about race, gender and sexuality, and attempts to create a safe space in which some tough questions can be answered.
Senior Abdul Maheed was one of the books available at last year’s Library. “It’s a truly eye opening experience to hear and understand the different struggles and successes people experience,” said Maheed. “Being a part of the Human Library in the past and being checked out so many times showed me that people are compassionate and willing to listen.”
Maheed felt the experience was memorable.
“A face is now attributed to my story and the story of others like me. The fluctuating tones of voice and silent pauses make it an intimate and personal experience that is really captivating,” continued Maheed ‘19.
The Fairfield University Library has been hosting this event for three years now, and every year the turn-out has increased. Last year over 400 students attended and checked out human books.
Senior Yamil Cobo was one of the many students who attended the event last year. “I think the human library allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and actually talk to people and realize that everyone has a story,” Cobo said. “The ‘book’ I rented out is now a really close friend of mine and that experience helped me see things from a perspective that I never would have expected from him so it really was an eye opening experience for me honestly, I am going this year and hopefully it’s another wonderful experience.”
Many offices on campus contribute to helping throughout the two sessions held. It is co-sponsored by DiMenna-Nyselius Library, the Office of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, Center for Faith and Public Life, College of Arts and Sciences, Counseling and Psychological Services, Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.
Many don’t know that the Human Library did not start at the University. Contrary to popular belief, the event is a product of The Human Library Organization. The idea of the Human Library began in Denmark in the year 2000 and has become an international movement.
According to its website, The Human Library Organization strives to be, “a place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.”
The event is also a First Year Experience Inspire event, which seems to draw many students. “I went when I was a freshman for FYE credit and it was so inspirational,” said Nicole Spinelli ‘20.