Roger Williams plans ‘Human Library’

Modeled on a traditional library, a human library consists of “human books” – real people who have volunteered to tell their personal stories and to answer questions about life experiences. More

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Roger Williams plans ‘Human Library’

Posted 3/28/14

BRISTOL – Roger Williams University will host a statewide “Human Library” in Rhode Island on March 30.

Modeled on a traditional library, a human library consists of “human books” – real people who have volunteered to tell their personal stories and to answer questions about life experiences. Readers can browse a catalog and check out a “book” for a 15-minute, one-on-one conversation, during which they can learn about their subject and ask questions in a safe, respectful setting.

The people in Human Library Rhode Island 2014 share powerful stories and experiences with prejudice and disadvantaged circumstances. Examples of “book” titles available in Bristol are the “Face of Homelessness,” “Becoming Blind,” “Childless by Choice,” and “Cape Verdean American Woman.” Visit and choose “The Human Books” to read catalog entries.

The first statewide Human Library event took place at Rochambeau Library in 2013, but this year, a larger consortium of Rhode Island libraries and sponsoring organizations is participating.

Human libraries aim to promote understanding by allowing people to test the truth behind preconceptions.

“We’ve received great support from public and academic libraries in Providence and all around the East Bay, as well as generous sponsorship from Library Friends’ groups, community organizations and businesses,” said Joyce May, adult services librarian at Weaver Library and Co-Chairwoman of Human Library RI 2014. “A human library is a memorable experience and a powerful learning tool. We’re expecting visitors, not only from the East Bay but from all over the state.”

The libraries are friends’ groups participating this year include: Providence Community Library; Weaver Library, East Providence; Providence Public Library; Rogers Free Library, Bristol; Barrington Public Library; Newport Public Library; and George Hail Free Library, Warren.

Participating academic libraries include: University Library at Roger Williams University; Phillips Memorial Library, Providence College; and Salve Regina University’s McKillop Library.

The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Global Heritage Hall on the university campus at One Old Ferry Road.

The event is part of a worldwide project that began in Denmark in 2000. Since then, human libraries have been held in more than 60 countries. See for more information.

For more information, visit,

Or follow @HumanLibRI on Twitter.

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