Questions are expected, appreciated and answered by the human books. Human stories are discovered. Personal journeys are revealed.

Human Library unjudge someone.

The Human Library is a concept born in Denmark through which people are “on loan” as human books — giving readers an opportunity to ask questions about their lived experiences and listen to their stories, first-hand. Through this event, the Adelphi University Libraries Diversity Council aims to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion by providing a safe and respectful space for individuals to come together and foster understanding.

Readers: Don’t judge a book by its cover

Join us at Adelphi’s Human Library

Adelphi University
Swirbul Library, Room 5S
Thursday, May 2, 2024
5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Refreshments and food will be served.

The deadline to register has passed. Thank you to all who joined us!

Human Books: Share your authentic self and help shatter stereotypes

Human Books choose to share aspects of their personal journeys with readers to shine a light on their unique humanness. Through honest, respectful conversation in an intimate setting, readers gain insight from their lived experiences.

The deadline to volunteer as a Human Book has passed. Thank you to all who have agreed to join our bookshelf!

Human Library logo with descriptive words for diverse people. Labels we give one another


The Human Library® is a global innovative and hands-on learning platform born in Denmark in 2000. It is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that share unique human experiences that may at times be hidden. Its aim is to enhance the understanding of diversity and create more inclusive, cohesive communities that span cultural, religious, social and ethnic differences. Learn more about the Human Library Organization.

Human Books are people who share their diverse human stories based on aspects such as race, religion, sexual orientation, class, gender identity, lifestyle choices, disability or other elements of their life. They have volunteered to speak on and answer questions that speak to their authentic selves. Books are not political or on a mission; they agree to talk with readers to help shed light on what is being said/told/understood about a given topic.

  • Readers select a book from a list of titles and descriptions. A Librarian will introduce the book and the reader. Readers ask questions about the Book’s topic to learn about their unique stories. Readers may share personal experiences as well. Conversations last about 20 minutes and are private and respectful—there is no recording permitted.
  • In some cases, one, two or three readers may read the same book at the same time if all participants are comfortable with that.
  • Readers are asked to complete a reflection after reading a book. They may check out another book if they desire.
  • Books may take a break from being “on loan” after conversations. They will also take a reflective survey at the end of the event.
  • While everyone’s experiences are different, past books have expressed a sense of camaraderie, validation, and pride that comes from meeting fellow books and sharing their stories.
  • Sharing your story may help someone struggling with a similar challenge.
  • You may gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
  • Being a human book is a volunteer role; there is no financial compensation.
  • You get to have honest and private conversations that shed light on topics of deep human interest which can lead to greater understanding, acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion.
  • Many readers express appreciation for gaining enlightenment and understanding of others. Some readers gain validation or reassurance for confronting a similar challenge, directly or indirectly.
  • You may gain a deeper understanding of yourself.

Conversations between books and readers usually flow naturally. Readers are encouraged to be genuinely curious and courageous, thoughtful and courteous. Feel free to respectfully ask any question you want to know more about (even if you’re not sure how to phrase it – be brave!). We share some suggestions for readers to start and sustain a dialogue here:

  • Ask why they decided to be a book.
  • Ask anything about their book topic. What is it? How did it begin for them? How do they think or feel about it?
  • Ask about their experience with employers.
  • Ask about how their family treats them.
  • Ask about how society perceives or reacts to them.
  • Ask them to clarify something they said, or to go deeper about it.

The rules are simple:

  • Respect your book.
  • Be curious and interested in learning from your book.
  • Bring the book back on time and in the same condition it was given to you.
  • Be kind and caring.
  • You are welcome to “check out” more than one book during the event.
  • Both parties have the right to end the loan at any time.
  • There is no recording of any type permitted. This is a safe, private space.

University Libraries and the Library Diversity Council have partnered with the global Human Library® Organization to sponsor this special event at Adelphi University.

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Swirbul Library
  • Swirbul Library: May 29-August 11 Mon-Thu: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm Fri: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm Sat-Sun: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Swirbul Library: August 12-23 Mon-Fri: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm Sat-Sun: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
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