North Texas Daily

Human Library turns page on tolerance

Human Library turns page on tolerance

Human Library turns page on tolerance
September 17
07:57 2013

Margaret Saucedo / Intern

UNT Libraries and the Multicultural Center will collaboratively host the second Human Library event today and tomorrow from 3 to 6 p.m. at Willis Library.

Staff, faculty and students volunteer as “books” and share their life stories with participants, or “readers.” The books will talk about their personal experiences as minorities who deal with prejudice based on their religion, sexuality, political views, race or disabilities.

“It’s not a lecture, it’s not a panel, it’s a conversation,” said Mallory Shier who will participate as a book for the second time. “No one is there to convince you of anything, and you can walk away with your own opinion.”

Shier said her topic, Christian science and prayer healing, is more commonly misunderstood to be associated with the debate between creationism and science. With this event, she can explain the truth behind her topic.

“All of this is about conversation, not confrontation,” said Diane Walh, associate librarian and co-director of the Human Library.

Walh said the purpose is to come and learn about a life that is very different from the one the readers have lived.

Uyen Tran-Parsons, director of programing for the multicultural center and co-director of Human Library, said it is a structured place in which it is appropriate to be curious, ask questions and clear up misconceptions. Even the most accepting person may have a chance to talk to someone different.

“Most human beings stay in their comfort zones with people and types of people,” Tran-Parsons said. “Even if we are open that doesn’t mean we are well versed.”

This semester, the event will have more participants as books than the first event held in February.

The Human Library will have members of the LGBT community, Atheists, people living in a bi-racial marriage, a member of the modern pagan religion Wicca, and others.

“Society says to not discuss these taboo topics,” said Daniel Moran, second-time book volunteer and political science junior.

Moran’s book labels are Atheist, bisexual and gender queer.

“Society says religion, politics and sexuality are something you don’t discuss in polite company,” he said. “But it is important to have intelligent, respectful conversations about these topics.”

There will be a check-in desk at the event where readers can get a list of books.

The reader can check out a book and visit with them for up to 20 minutes. Once readers have spent time with their books they can check back in and visit with a new book.

UNT Libraries and the UNT Multicultural Center host their Human Library forum today at Willis Library from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The  forum provides students with a way to learn about diversity, gender, race, lifestyle choices and more from the real life experiences of volunteers. Feature graphic courtesy of The Human Library Facebook page. 

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