Williams College Invites Community to Experience the Human Library

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 23, 2015—Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library on Friday and Saturday, February 27 and 28, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will take place in the Paresky Student Center, and is a free, interactive event. 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 “reader” has a one-on-one conversation with the book, who shares his or her story and asks questions of the reader. Together, book and reader have an engaging discussion about their similarities, differences, and life experiences.

This is the fourth year that Williams has hosted the event. This year, the selection consists of about 40 books, whose titles include “Shaman,” “World War II Veteran,” “Farmer,” “National Snowmobile Champion,” “Parenting a Child with Autism/Aspergers,” and “Child of Deaf Adults.” The intimate nature of the project opens up opportunities for community members to learn about each other’s lives, explore and move beyond stereotypes, and develop an appreciation for the unique narrative each person has to share.

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

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