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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:
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:
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.
About the space
Essex County Council