The first Human Library in Moscow

The Human Library took place at the Russian State Library for Young Adults on 5th and 6th November 2011. The group of volunteers has taken the lead in this project in Moscow with the assistance of our library.

A Living Book is a person who is ready to share his life experience and to answer any question. This person has chosen to be a public representative of a certain group. In the “catalogue” one could find a feminist, a homeless, a Buddhist monk, a HIV positive, a chemist, etc. There were 35 Living Books in all. Everyone could become a “reader” of this unusual library. After getting to know with the rules, everyone could choose an interesting Living Book or a few from the “catalogue”. It was available to “read” it not more than 30 minutes and then you had to “return” the book to the “library”. If the book was not ordered by someone else, you were able to get a 30 minute extension. The “book” was allowed not to answer awkward questions or to close the conversation ahead of the time in case of insult.

More than 350 people have visited the Human Library during these two days. The most popular “books” were: “Homeless”, “Girl, who has adopted Islam”, “Transsexual”, “Traveller-loner” and “Mother from the same-sex family”. The least needed “book” was “Mother of many children”.

The youngest “reader” was 10, and the oldest – 80. But the majority of “readers” were students and young adults up to 30. There were more female than male among visitors (as it was expected according to the preliminary survey).

The organizers hope that the Human Library project has helped people to get rid of their wrong stereotypes and prejudices.

Note:
The first Human Library project was organized in Denmark in 2000. And than such events took place all over the world. Today more than 50 countries take part in this project.

Maria Evseeva
International Relations Department
Russian State Library for Young Adults

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2 responses to “The first Human Library in Moscow

  1. It seems a really nice project. Is there any website I could read more about your experience? Also information in Russian will do.

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