“The Human Library” programme, a series of meetings with interesting people, is about to start at Zimbardo Centre. The first meeting with the “Living Book” is planned for June.

Why such a name of the programme? Because this type of event is organized just like a structure of a library. There are “Books” – the representatives of particular groups, sometimes discriminated ones. And there are “Readers” – the guests, who visit the library. “The Human Library” is a place, where one can “borrow” a person, who is perceived through some stereotypes, and talk to them. Such a meeting shall help the participant break the stereotypes and prejudices towards the group, that the “Book” represents. On the other hand, it is a good occasion for the “Book” to express the identity of their group. The conversation with the “Reader” is based on dialogue and mutual understanding, which allows fighting prejudices and discrimination.

“The Human Library” is an effective tool that helps promoting the concepts of tolerance and diversity. It is founded on understanding and respect and therefore it changes people’s attitudes towards distinctness. It is a huge repository of knowledge on human rights and at the same time it provokes critical thinking, reacts onto current problems related to discrimination and social exclusion. Its value is even more significant when embedded in local context.

The workshops introducing the “Living Library” were held by Katarzyna Opielka – the president of the Diversity & Equality Foundation “Contrasts”.

In order to keep high standards of the Library, we also participated in a meeting with the “Human Library” creator – Ronny Abergel. It took place in Wroclaw on June 13th, as part of a seminar on Building a Network of Living Libraries in Poland.