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Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Human Library: NLW 2023

The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.

Reader Agreement

As a Reader of the Human Library, I acknowledge that all living Books are volunteers sharing their unique life experiences. I agree to listen and ask questions respectfully. I will refrain from debating a Book’s experience and will accept their answers to questions as their truth. I acknowledge that a Book has the right not to answer any question they do not wish to answer, they have the right to end the conversation at any time, and that a Librarian may interrupt or end the conversation at any time.

Conversations between Human Books and the Readers usually flow naturally.  We provide you with “starter questions” that the Human Books will come up with, in case you need some help figuring out what to say.  Just be yourself - that will help to relax you and to relax the person you’re talking with.

Rules for Readers

The books

All of our books are volunteers. They come from many different backgrounds but all share the same motivation. To help bring about understanding, answer questions, and share their experiences in order to counter discrimination, prejudice and stigma. The books represent groups in the community that are frequently subjected to stigma based on disability, religion, ethnicity, occupation, social status, or sexual conviction.

The librarians

Librarians are there to help you in any way they can. They will first and foremost help you identify which book title is the most relevant for you to meet and talk with. It is your choice but through your chat with the librarians we can help ensure a good match is found. The librarians have a list of all the titles we carry on our bookshelf. Once you have selected a book your librarian will bring it to you and make the introductions.

Duration of loans

Conversations can last as long as you both like, unless someone else is waiting to speak with the Human Book, at which point we end the conversation at 25 minutes.  Loans can be extended if the human book agrees (they may want to take a break!); just check back at the registration desk to be sure someone else isn't waiting. Your book must be handed back to us in the same condition it was in when given to you.

It is the privilege of both parties that they can end the conversation at any point they may wish.

Where to go?

We have prepared an area of a room for you to enjoy your talk with your book. . You are not allowed to take the book home!

How to get the conversation going?

You can always start by sharing a little about yourself and why you found this title interesting. Please remember to feel absolutely free to ask any question you would like about your books topic. Do not be shy. Do respect your book.


Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover!