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A human library

Minnetrista puts a twist on traditional books

MUNCIE, Ind.--- The Human Library took place Sunday, Oct. 2 in the Oakhurst Gardens at Minnetrista. The library is meant for positive conversations about stereotypes and prejudice.

This isn’t your traditional library, the books are people with unique life experiences and interesting stories to tell. 

Depot Manager of East Central Indiana for the Human Library, Peggy Lewis, believes that the magic of the library comes from the authenticity of the books themselves. 

“Our books are authentic. I’ve had people ask me if they are paid to be a book. No, because once you start doing that, you’re selling the story and it’s not the same,” Lewis said. “These are just authentic stories.”

The members of the community who choose to attend the event are known as readers. When the reader checks out a human book, they are met by a librarian. The librarian will lead the book and reader to a spot in the garden where they will partake in a 30-minute discussion. After the reader is finished with the book, they can return it to the shelf and pick up another.

Lewis explains that conversations are meant to be positive and questions are encouraged.

“You know when we’re raised, we’re told not to ask those personal questions. You see someone in a wheelchair in a store and the mother says ‘shhh’ if the kid says, ‘hey mommy, why is he looking like that,” Lewis said. “Here, we’re saying ask those questions.”

Each book volunteers their time to tell their story. Pam Taylor has been a book for a year. She talks about her son’s death and how she copes with his suicide. 

“It’s the way I cope is to talk about suicide, reduce the stigma and it’s very important to me,” Taylor said.

The goal of the library is for people who don’t know much about one of the topics available, to learn more about it and leave the library more educated on the subject. Lewis talks about the impact and significance it has on the readers.

“It just opens up your own perspective to say I never thought about that,” Lewis said. “We’re all in a better place if we can start doing that.”

The next human library in Muncie will be on Nov. 9 from 4-5:30 p.m. There will also be more events all across the state including Richmond and Fort Wayne.


Contact Vincent Martorano with comments vamartorano@bsu.edu