Telling stories in the Human Library

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

Thirty-nine available book titles were listed for "checkout" during the second Human Library event at York College Center for Community Engagement. 

But those "books" were actually people, and the event  March 25 invited members of the public to come in and hear their stories.

"The Human Library is an opportunity for people to come in and check out a 'book' who is a human," said event organizer Katie Hartman. "Typically, that person has faced a biased or stereotype or some kind of stigma."

The pre-registered "readers" chose their titles, ranging from "The American Dream" to "Vegan" to "Vietnam Vet and Proud of It," and the Human Library gives them an opportunity to sit down and talk to those people, one-on-one, Hartman said.  

"The conversation goes in whatever direction the people choose," Hartman said.  "Each one is really organic, depending on the people involved in it."

 For some people, it's  a storytelling session. For others, it is more of a question-and-answer session, she said. 

Hartman, who teaches in the Central York School District, says that funding for the Human Library came from private donors this year as well as an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. She said she is eager to continue the event and is looking for sponsors for next year.