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Albert S. Cook Library

Human Library at Towson University

An annual event co-sponsored by the Albert S. Cook Library and Center for Student Diversity, bringing together the Towson campus community to challenge stereotypes through respectful conversations.

Upcoming events

University Union, Room 306

October 16th and 17th, 2018

Noon - 4 PM

What does a day as a book look like?

As a book, you will have conversations with readers that last a maximum of 30 minutes. Here are a few tips for human books that help to illuminate the experience.

Prepare yourself for being a Book — be ready to discuss and answer questions about your title.

If you have time before the event, you may want to find factual statistics or research data in order to evaluate and address topics some readers might confront you with. However, if you don’t have data, you can always point out that your primary job as a book is to share your experiences, which may vary from what the reader expects.

Be yourself; be honest, listen carefully, and be open to talk if asked a question.

Do not act out a role or invent characteristics for yourself. Be ready to share your reflected personal experiences unless the questions are too intimate. If that happens, feel free to say you do not want to answer.

Accept that the reader is interested in this part of your identity.

Be prepared to repeat yourself over and over as different readersmay ask the same question.

Wait for the reader to ask you questions instead of filling the space with small talk.

If the reader doesn't start the conversation after about 30 seconds, a good question to start the discussion is, “Why did you choose my book?”

Try to get some basic info from your readers: Have they met someone like you before? Did they have good or bad experiences with a person like you? This will help you answer their questions and know what they might find interesting

Don’t provide advice or counseling. 

If they ask for it, tell them all you can do is share your own experience but for help and advice the event organizers have resources they can share.

If a reader becomes verbally aggressive or tries to hold you responsible for a variety of social problems, try to remain calm and show understanding while expressing your disagreement where necessary. If you begin to feel harassed, you have several options:

- Tell them they are making you uncomfortable

- Tell them that you need a break and the reading is over.

- Send a chat message to the organizers for help

Take breaks.

When you complete a particularly intense discussion, you may want take a break. It is important for you and your next reader that you are a relaxed discussion partner.

When you are leaving for a break, let the organizers know by sending a chat message and let them know when you return.