Human Library aims to break stereotypes among students

Human Library aims to break stereotypes among students

February 18
22:55 2013

Andrew Freeman / Staff Writer

To try to negate stereotypes UNT students may have, the UNT’s library and Multicultural Center are cosponsoring the Human Library event.

From 3-6 p.m. today and tomorrow, students of different ethnicities, religions and lifestyles, or “human books” can be checked out for free.

The event is designed to combat prejudice by helping students understand these “books” through conversation.

“The idea is to make a library out of people who have experienced stereotypes or prejudice, whether they have no control, or it’s a choice, and make them able to become books that you can checkout,” librarian Diane Wahl said. “As human beings, we have the same dreams, fears and desires, so if you’re talking to them, maybe you’ll understand and overcome the stereotypes.”

This program will be one of the three programs that are part of a series Willis Library will host this semester.

“We will be taking feedback from the attendees and the books at the event,” Wahl said. “If it is successful, we will have a much larger Human Library next semester.”

The idea was presented to Wahl by a student who was shown an online version of the Human Library. The student was unable to be reached for comment.

“I think it will be a great experience for those who want to get to know people who are different from them, and hear their stories about the prejudices they have to go through,” pre-biology freshman Alonso Meraz said. “Maybe it’ll help people appreciate those who are different from them and help stop prejudice.”

The library’s collection will include 18 different titles, with many more books, including an African-American, a Buddhist, a feminist, a homosexual, an interracial marriage, a Muslim woman, a former policewoman and a vegan. Most books will be available both afternoons.

“When you go to college, it’s a very eye-opening experience,” Wahl said. “There are a lot of different people, more than in high school and I hope this event will be a very positive experience, one that eliminates prejudice or halts the creation of them.”

Because of privacy reasons, the “books” cannot be contacted until the event begins.

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