Spending a day at Human Library with human subjects as books

Bhubaneswar: It was an occasion where human beings were books. Like books, they were treated as storehouse of knowledge and many people tried to learn a thing or two from these human books. A gay shared his experience of facing sexual abuse with the general public while a hearing-impaired female entrepreneur inspired the readers with her spirit of striving against all difficulties in life.

With an aim to provide a unique experience of ‘human books,’ where a man or a woman is treated as a book and people get to learn something or the other by directly interacting with them, city-based Bhubaneswar Poetry Club organised its first ever Human Library.

This was the occasion where nine people with exemplary life stories of struggle and survival were selected as ‘human books.’ These ‘human books’ included a acid attack survivor, a gay, a alcohol abuse survivor and many others.

At the event, the readers were allowed to borrow a ‘human book’ for 20 minutes and listen to their perspectives through an enlightening conversation, informed founder of Human Library, Bhubaneswar, Bijaya Biswal.

This was an occasion where personal stories were exchanged and we saw a good interaction between the human books and the readers those who attended the event.

— Bijaya Biswal, founder of the Human Library in Bhubaneswar

With an aim to provide an incubated environment for conversations and deliberations, Human Library Project was first conceptualised in Denmark, in 2000.

Several cities in 66 other countries have also hosted this event in the past and Bhubaneswar became the sixth Indian city to host an event surrounding the concept of Human Library.

The event witnessed a footfall of over 250 readers, in eight different slots, who read nine Human Books.

The Human Library provided a unique platform for the convergence of opinions and views about certain realities that we find difficult to address, or talk about. It established a safe conversational place where difficult questions were appreciated and answered, in order to promote the understanding of social prejudices, and increase tolerance and empathy among human beings.