A Human Library for Essex

Funded on Spacehive 3 December 2018

Impact data and claims within this report are provided by the project creator and have not been independently verified by Spacehive.

A Human Library for Essex

A Human Library for Essex

Essex Book Festival By Essex Book Festival

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover! Help us bring the Human Library to Essex Book Festival in March, to celebrate diversity in our communities, challenge discrimination and help people connect.

Borough of Colchester Delivery stage

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This project was funded on 03 Dec 2018!

Human Libraries take place across the world. Just like in a real library, a visitor to the Human Library can choose a Book from a range of titles. The difference is that Books are people, and reading is a conversation. Essex Book Festival would like to bring the Human Library to Essex, as part of its PLACE weekend on Sunday 24 March to explore identity, home and heritage, using the café at Firstsite as our ‘Reading Room’. Under the title of ‘Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover’, we want to celebrate the diversity and positive difference in our communities, and raise awareness of many different reasons people may experience exclusion. We want to work in partnership with individuals and community groups based in the area to make the Human Library happen, inviting individuals to become ‘Books’ to share their stories, challenge discrimination head on, and make a meaningful connection with others.

What we'll deliver:

  • A unique volunteer experience for at least 35 individuals, as 'Human Books' and ‘Librarians’
  • A safe space and time to reflect and to connect with others
  • Stronger community networks by bringing people together with a common purpose
  • A free event that is open to all

Why it's a great idea:

Human Libraries are places where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered, in a safe environment within a framework of mutual respect. The dialogue that the Human Library generates has the power and potential to foster empathy, and challenge prejudice, stigma and discrimination. The Human Library is a tried and tested experiment with so many success stories, created for the 2000 Roskilde Music Festival by Danish activists who formed in response to a violent hate crime. Their idea was to use the language and mechanism of a library to facilitate conversations that challenge prejudice, thereby reducing the risk of tension and violence. From a base in Copenhagen the founders of the Human Library Organisation have helped the movement to grow steadily across the world, and it is currently active in over 60 countries. The movement is growing and, with your help, we want Essex to be part of it! More info about the benefit of Human Libraries is at http://humanlibrary.org

Steps to get it done:

  • Recruit a Project Manager
  • Put together promotional material and advertise the event
  • Create signage and resources for the event (banners, posters, t-shirts, recruitment pack, briefing notes)
  • Make contact with local groups to find ‘Human Books’
  • Recruit a team of volunteers as Library Staff
  • Train and brief all volunteers (books and staff)
  • Run the event on Sunday 24 March
  • Evaluation and review

Essex Book Festival is celebrating its 20th Year in 2019, and libraries have been at the core of our programme since 1999. We work hand in hand with Essex Libraries, who are as excited as us by this idea. By bringing the Human Library to Essex, we’d be highlighting the important role that libraries have in the community, as places of dialogue, exchange, knowledge and learning. This would be an interesting twist in how people view and use libraries.

Location Borough of Colchester

About the space



Essex County Council

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How will the money be spent?Total £3,744

Project Manager - £1,400 (37%)
Event equipment (to use every year) T-shirts / sashes / banners etc - £600 (16%)
Promotion (flyers and posters) - £550 (15%)
Volunteer expenses - £500 (13%)
Venue and audience hospitality - £250 (7%)
Admin costs (photocopying and printing) - £200 (5%)
Other - £244 (6%)

Costs Breakdown

This shows how money raised for the project will be spent. These costs have been confirmed by the project's Delivery Manager and verified.

Project Manager
Event equipment (to use every year) T-shirts / sashes / banners etc
Promotion (flyers and posters)
Volunteer expenses
Venue and audience hospitality
Admin costs (photocopying and printing)
  • Spacehive fees
  • VAT
  • Transaction Fees


This project is enabled for overfunding. If the project hits its funding goal before the end of the campaign period, any extra funds raised will be spent (in order of priority) on: With more money we would be able to invest in another Human Library event in another part of Essex, using this event as a pilot.

Total £3,744

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