Connect, Interact, Learn & Expand your thinking at the Human Library.
The Human Library Concept has come to Delhi. Sunday, 18th of June 2017, was a red-letter day in the history of Delhi. That was the day the capital city got its first ever human library.
The venue of the event was Innov8 Co-working Space, Connaught Place, Delhi and it held from 2 PM and 7 PM.
Delhi is the fourth city in India after Hyderabad, Indore, and Mumbai to experiment on such a wonderful concept. Starting in the year 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the concept of the Human Library has spread to over 80 countries worldwide.
Let us understand the concept of the Human Library.
What do you do in a library? The answer is obvious. You borrow a book, go through it, and learn from it. It is perfectly possible that you might have doubts or apprehensions about the message the book is trying to convey. You may or may not agree with the views expressed in the book.
The moot question is, “Would you be able to air your opinions about the book and receive immediate clarifications?” The answer is in the negative. After all, the book is an inanimate object, not capable of responding to your thoughts or opinions immediately.
Would it not be a great idea if the book had the capability to engage you in a conversation where there can be an exchange of views, ideologies, and experiences? It can be of great mutual benefit. This is the concept of the Human Library.
This human book will share his / her experiences with you on a pre-determined topic. The topics usually revolve around social issues. The library at Delhi has human books interacting with you on 11 topics ranging from recovering from drug abuse to cancer survival and travelling to domestic violence. The human books are real people who have gone through the ordeal themselves. Hence, they have the requisite expertise to interact with you on the subject.
What is the objective of having such a concept?
The principal aim of the human library concept is to encourage people to have a dialogue whereby you build up a positive framework for dealing with social issues. You will be interacting with human books who might have been victims of social injustice. Maybe, you could be a victim as well. However, you might just not have the courage to come out with it openly in public. This platform gives you the right environment to share your experiences, views, and opinions on the subject.
The best aspect of such a concept is that it can be mutually beneficial to the human book as well as the reader. This is because when you share your stories with people or listen to theirs, you get to see the entire issue from a different perspective. You experience a refreshing approach to the issue whereby you might end up finding a solution to the problem as well.
Who can be a human book?
This is a valid question. There is no restriction at all. Anyone can volunteer to be a human book provided he or she has first-hand experience of the topic of discussion. Usually, the topics revolve around social prejudices, human psychology, recovering from terminal illnesses, etc. However, the topics do not have any restrictions as well.
The Delhi chapter had eleven topics in its initial foray. Naturally, this will increase over a period. Once the concept becomes popular, you will definitely find more people coming forward and contributing their mite to make the event a regular one.
Delhi does not have dearth of any issues. You have people with experience in every background. This Human Library could provide the right kind of platform for having meaningful interactions.
The actual process:
The process of participation is very simple. You have two very simple options. One is to contact the organizers through their Facebook Connect page and place a request. The second one is to just walk in and express your interest. Since this was a pilot project of its kind, the number of participants as well as the human books could have been less. However, once the concept gains popularity and more people become aware of it, you can find a tremendous response.
The advantages of this concept:
- You get an opportunity to share your experiences with others. You may have something valuable to offer to others.
- You can learn from the experience of others as well. This can help you to change your perception about certain social issues about which you might have had your own reservations.
- One human book in this library was a 23-year old cancer survivor. This person wanted to create awareness about the disease and dispel the misconceptions people have about cancer.
- When you interact with people on a one-to-one level, you understand that there are millions of things that you are not aware of. You acquire knowledge about issues you did not know existed.
- There have been instances of the human books themselves learning a lesson from the readers. The two-way traffic is one of the biggest advantages of this Human Library concept.
- When you show a genuine interest in other people, you broaden your vision and develop an open mind. This can pave the way for creating a sense of positivity. This is one of the key aspects of interpersonal relationship.
Delhi is the most cosmopolitan city in India. You have people from all occupations residing in Delhi. Hence, you have a tremendous wealth of experience. There are people who wish to share their experiences with others and in the process help them to overcome their problems in life. Hence, it is in the fitness of things that Delhi needed such a wonderful concept.
The spirit of Delhi and its residents will ensure that this concept of Delhi’s First Human Library will be regular one whereby everyone can benefit.