The principle of the Human Library is simple: you can borrow living books. I.e. people in the flesh who have been discriminated against and are ready to tell their story. The objective? To fight against stereotypes.
Giving back a voice
Alcoholic. Feminist. European civil servant. Veiled woman … All these characteristics, pieces of identity, immediately call up their share of clichés. These are not people, but stereotypes that they bring out. And yet, there is always a person behind these stereotypes.
The Human Library seeks to give back a voice to people who have been subject to all kinds of discrimination. To let each of these books tell their own story to whoever will listen, in the course of a one-on-one dialogue during which the Human Book accepts to tell part of their personal story.
Dialogue and exchange
Following the principle of a traditional library, festivalgoers are invited to borrow a Human Book on the basis of a summary given in the catalogue and to engage in a dialogue with the book for a half-hour maximum. Librarians will be present to enforce certain rules and ensure the fluidity of the loans. On site, it will also be possible to reserve a book for a particular time slot.
The Human Library has been recognized by the European Council as a means to promote intercultural dialogue and to fight against all forms of discrimination; it is an educative method that is part of a global movement, in particular the international network Human Library (www.humanlibrary.org).
Since 2017 the Human Library project has been supported in Brussels by La Concertation ASBL - Action culturelle bruxelloise as part of its activities (www.laconcertation-asbl.org).
Human Library Brussels
Bibliothèque vivante 2017
Passa Porta, La Concertation, Citizenne