Join The Human Library this autumn

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Wunderbar Festival, which this year runs from 31 October-6 November, and New Writing North are opening a new and unique library for the region this autumn and are looking for ‘Books’ to fill it. The Human Library has a specific purpose – to challenge stereotypes and to confront stigma, prejudice and discrimination in all forms.

The Human Library works just like a normal library – open to all, readers choose from a catalogue and borrow a Book for a limited period of time, returning it for others to share. The thing about the Human Library though is that these ‘Books’ are people and ‘reading’ them involves a conversation.

The wide-ranging catalogue will reflect and celebrate the diversity of the region. By creating an opportunity for conversations between people who might otherwise never meet, the Human Library will break down boundaries and enable people in our community to learn from each other. The experience that YOU can offer through the Human Library will lead to a more inclusive, tolerant and cohesive society that has the potential to change the attitudes and behaviours of us all.

We are looking for 25 people with diverse backgrounds to participate in this exciting project by volunteering to be Books in our library. Human Books will share their life experiences with others and be candid about their worldview. A sense of humour and a willingness to engage with a wide range of people is essential in a good Book.

Might your life experiences make you a good Book or do you work with or know people whose lives might? We are looking to work with a wide range of people whose life experiences and ideas might be often misinterpreted or misunderstood in popular media and culture. Might you be a ‘Muslim’ or an ‘Asylum Seeker’ or represent a community of people who often suffer misunderstanding and discrimination such as ‘Transgender’ or ‘Wheelchair User’? Books such as ‘On Social Benefits’ or ‘Student’, ‘Public Sector Worker’ will be able to address assumptions and attitudes. As you can imagine, the list of Books and prejudices is almost endless and we would like to include a wide a range as possible in the Human Library catalogue. We’re open to suggestions as to what might make a good Book. A good Human Book enjoys conversation, is prepared to answer questions from the reader and can even ask their own questions in return. We will ensure that all the Books are well cared for and will be returned in the same (if not better) condition in which they were issued.

Prospective Books will be asked to commit to one training day on 13 October to develop their subject and create a unique title and front cover image for themselves. In November the Human Library will be open on four days during the Wunderbar Festival and we would like each participant to be available for one or two of these days.

For more information on how to apply,  contact Hannah Marsden at [email protected] by 5 September. We will contact all the potential Books individually before a final selection is made by invitation on 3 October.

Everyone’s knowledge is unique and all of us have an interesting story to tell. However, due to an anticipated high level of interest we may not be able to include all applicants, as much as we’d like to.

The concept for the Human Library originated in Copenhagen in 2000 and has since been reproduced in 60 countries all over the world. You can find out more about the Human Library at