On the 15th of October, Southampton’s Solent University hosted a “Human Library” event, during which people had the opportunity to visit the University and “borrow” a person for 10-15 minutes to share their ideas and views of the world.
The human bookshelf was composed of people from groups in society who are commonly subject to discrimination or prejudice, due to their ethnicity, beliefs, social status, or lifestyle. Human books at the Solent Human Library include people with stories about:
- Being transgender
Thanks to the secure and safe environment created by the University, many students and people from the staff took courage to volunteer as human books to explain their situations and share their unique experiences.The event is part of a series of programs held in libraries, festivals, public schools, private companies, coordinated by the Human Library Organization, based in Denmark, to defy stereotypes and foster cooperation between people. It works under the motto ‘Unjudge Someone‘, and has been challenging stereotypes for nearly two decades.
The first event took place at the Roskilde festival, in Copenhagen, in 2000, over a period of four days, and more than 1000 people participated. Today, after 19 years, the Organisation holds weekly events all around the world, in more than 85 countries.