Williams College Invites Community to Experience the Human Library

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 22, 2013—Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library on Friday, March 1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, March 2, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required.

The Williams Human Library contains 35 to 40 “books”: Williams students, faculty, staff, and community members who have volunteered to be “checked out” for up to 30 minutes each. Each book shares their story in a one-on-one conversation with readers and each book asks their readers questions as well: prompting an engaging discussion about their similarities, their differences, and their particular life experiences.

This is the second year that Williams has hosted this event.  Last year, 250 people checked out human books. This year, the catalog of human books is bigger and more diverse, and  includes titles such as: “9/11 on 15th Street,” “Feminist/Womanist,” “Iraq War Veteran,” “Roma/Gypsy,”  ”Gun Shop Owner,” “Veiled Woman,” “Archaeologist,” and “Zen Buddhist.” These captivating titles along with the intimate nature of this project serve as an opportunity to learn about another community member for a given time and ask them what you want to know. The goal is for the people of the community—both on and off campus—to learn more about each other, to explore and move beyond stereotypes, and to develop a greater understanding of each person’s unique narrative.

The Human Library is an innovative method designed to spark dialogue, reduce prejudices, and encourage understanding and uncomfortable learning. Typically organized by municipal libraries, the Human Library has an international community that includes Australia, Lithuania, Spain, Turkey, and now Williamstown, Mass. The Human Library was conceived in 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, by a self-initiated, non-governmental youth movement called “Stop The Violence.”

The Human Libray is sponsored by the Gaudino Fund and the Human Library Committee which is made up of faculty, staff, and students.

To learn more about the Human Library, visit sites.williams.edu/humanlibrary/

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For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map

To visit the college on the Internet: www.williams.edu Williams College can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/williamscollege and Twitter: twitter.com/williamscollege