Human Library Johns Hopkins
A few “books” being “checked out” at our Johns Hopkins 2016 Human Library event. (Brody Learning Commons, Homewood Campus)

Join us on Sunday, April 30th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Brody Learning Commons (adjacent to the Eisenhower Library) on the Homewood Campus of Johns Hopkins University for this free event! It’s open to the public and everyone is welcome. The event occurs during the JHU 2017 Spring Fair, and it is sure to be another engrossing Human Library™ event!

The Human Library began in Denmark over 15 years ago in response to a hate crime. It has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon! HL works as a one-day event where instead of taking out books, “Readers” or those that attend the event, can “check out” a “Book,” that is, a person who is part of a group in our community that is somehow exposed to stigma, prejudice, and/or discrimination.

Research of participants of various Human Library events has found that, “Readers increased their knowledge, understanding and empathy of their Human Books. Secondly, Human Books increased their self-reflexivity” and that Human Library organizers transcended their idea of self and others (Kudo et al. 2011, 4 in Watson, 227).

Listen. Talk. Meet your biases. Break stereotypes. Have a frank discussion with a Transgender Woman, Survivor of Suicide Loss, or a Sikh person, among so many other titles that will be available for “check out.” For more information about this world-wide movement, visit the official website You can also listen to a podcast from last year’s event at Hopkins.



Work Cited: Gregory John Watson, “ ‘You shouldn’t have to suffer for being who you are’: An Examination of the Human Library Strategy for Challenging Prejudice and Increasing Respect for Difference’ (PhD diss., Curtin University, 2015).



The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers. A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.

Human Library logo
Official logo of the Human Library

The Human Library or “Menneskebiblioteket” was developed in Copenhagen in 2000 by Ronni Abergel and his brother Dany, and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen.

The original event was open eight hours a day for four days straight and featured over fifty different titles. The broad selection of books provided readers with ample choice to challenge their stereotypes and so they did. More than a thousand readers took advantage leaving books, librarians, organisers and readers stunned at the impact of the Human Library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.