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A student works in the B.D. Owens Library, where the University community is invited to participate in a Human Library on April 5. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

A student works in the B.D. Owens Library, where the University community is invited to participate in a Human Library on April 5. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

March 17, 2022

B.D. Owens Library recruiting ‘human books,’ will host April 5 event

By Edidiong Idong-Bassey, communication assistant

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The B.D. Owens Library is partnering with the Human Library Organization in Copenhagen, Denmark, to host a Human Library event at Northwest Missouri State University.

The Human Library is a collection of real people who tell their real stories to “readers” seated at tables in a library setting. The Northwest event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at the Owens Library.

People interested in being a “human book” may apply at this link by Monday, March 28. Readers are invited to visit the library on the evening of the event and choose any of the “human books.” Books will be available every 30 minutes on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Human Library provides an opportunity for conversations between the human books and their readers. Readers can “check out” human books to hear their personal stories, engage in dialog about their lived experiences toward breaking down barriers and encourage understanding. 

Human books will discuss a variety of topics, including abuse, international culture, disabilities, mental health, chronic illness and gender identities.

“The purpose of the event is to have conversations about difficult life experiences that people have had,” Carolyn Johnson, a research and outreach librarian at Owens Library, said. “Just the experience of sharing may help some of the human books heal or reflect on their experience and help the readers walk in that person’s shoes, becoming more inclusive in their thinking about others.”

Additional support for the Human Library event is provided by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Senate, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, the International Involvement Center, Northwest’s Ally Affinity Group, the Office of University Advancement, Wellness Services, the Office of Human Resources and the Maryville Public Library as well as Maryville residents.

The international Human Library is a non-profit organization in Copenhagen, Denmark, that has partnered since 2000 with local organizers and libraries in more than 80 countries. The organization is providing training for human books participating in the Owens Library event.

For more information, contact Johnson at carolyn@nwmissouri.edu or Terra Feick, assistant library director for access services, at terraf@nwmissouri.edu or visit https://libguides.nwmissouri.edu/human/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704