Calling all humans: Baltimore County needs thoughts and memories for 'Human Library' at Owings Mills
By Jim Joyner
The Baltimore Sun|
Mar 01, 2018 at 11:20 AM
Baltimore County’s Owings Mills branch library is looking for about a dozen people to serve as “living books” in the library system’s first-ever Human Library — an initiative in which people of different ethnicities, beliefs and experiences can get “checked out” by library patrons.
Through the Human Library, people make themselves available “on loan” to readers for segments of about 15 minutes to exchange ideas and discuss experiences on a variety of issues.
Library officials said in a press release that the goal is to build “a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.” The public will be invited to “check out” a living book and learn about the person’s life experience through questions and conversations.
"Youth Speak Out," a three-week workshop put on by nonprofit Wide Angle Media, was held at the Woodlawn Library in February to give about a dozen young people the skills to express their stories through film.
Readers will drop by the branch to “get their read on like never before with a living person that represents a topic of stigma or stereotyping,” library officials said.
Paula Miller, director of the Baltimore County Public Library system, sees the project as “an opportunity to connect, share stories and strengthen understanding among people with different experiences and backgrounds.”
A free book group for veterans, hosted by the Maryland Humanities and the Towson branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, kicks of Jan. 29. The group meets five times monthly for a pizza dinner and group discussion in Towson.
The Human Library project stems from a nonprofit in Copenhagen, Denmark, that created it around 2000. According to its Facebook page, the organization has seen Human Library projects in more than 70 countries worldwide, from Poland to Great Britain and Chicago to Mesa, Ariz. Those involved offer experiences on issues ranging from history to homelessness, race relations to parenting.