Fun Fact Friday – 21st August 2015

Fun Fact Friday – 21st August 2015

the human library logo

Borrow a human

Back in 1993, five teenagers – Ronni Abergel, Erich Kristoffersen, Asma Mouna, Thomas Bertelsen and Dany Abergel created a Youth NGO called ‘Stop The Violence’, after the brutal stabbing of a mutual friend in Copenhagen.

By 2000 the organisation had over 30,000 members. In the same year Leif Stov, the Director of the Roskilde Festival, asked them to come up with an idea to challenge prejudice, encourage dialogue and build positive relationships between festival-goers.

They came up with a novel idea, the ‘Human Library’, with the first library being held at the festival. Following that, in 2008 the ‘Human Library Organisation’ was founded in Copenhagen by one of the ‘Stop the Violence’ founders, Ronni Abergel.

The idea is that rather than people going to their local libraries and checking out a book, they could go and ‘borrow’ a human, who has interesting life stories to share.

15 years after the inspiring idea, the ‘Human Library’ has gone global, with, to date, 70 countries taking part.

The concept is, that for 30 minutes you can ‘borrow’ a person and sit and listen and ask questions in relation to their life story.

There are different categories to choose from, just like books. Over the years there have been a variety of volunteers sharing their stories, including politicians, war veterans, prostitutes, drug users, depression sufferers, and those that have lived through apartheid, plus many more diverse life stories to choose from.

The first human libraries held in the USA were back in 2008. The two events were held at Santa Monica Public Library and Bainbridge Public Library.

The two events lasted nine hours and had more than 250 participants.

You can find out more about the ‘Human Library’ at:-

www.humanlibrary.org – although at time of writing the website is being updated, but you can find them on Facebook and Twitter, @thehumanlibrary

For those in the UK – www.humanlibraryuk.org

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