Check out a Human Book


Don't judge a book by its cover

You have probably heard of a school library, public library, or even a toy lending library, but what about a human library? The Alexandra Library held its first event of this kind, where readers take out much more than books, at last year's Thyme Festival.

Browse the shelves at a more typical library and you will find titles like The Seven Sisters, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and The Grapes of Wrath. At a Human Library though, these are the books: Alan McCabe – immigrant and world traveller; Pani Thomas – refugee: three lives in my lifetime; and Jason McDonough – Military: not like you see in the movies.

Last year, these and six other so-called "books" gathered at Alexandra Library to take part in our first Human Library. They're called books because they have their own unique stories to tell. Our books wait together in a set aside area—called a "bookshelf"—and wait for "readers" to loan them and strike up conversation.

Activists protesting violence in Denmark introduced the human library concept almost 20 years ago. Since then it has grown to a global movement, with events held in dozens of countries. The general objective is to expose people to vastly different life experiences.

The format includes reserving a loan period of 20 minutes, where the Book will open the talk with a 5-minute introduction to their topic and try to provide an insight to their experiences by using chapter headings, and then allow the reader the opportunity to peruse any chapter they want.

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

This year, our event will take place at the Alexandra Library in conjunction with Alexandra Thyme Festival, on Thursday 1 November, 2pm-4pm, and Saturday 3 November 10am-12 noon. 

For more information or to book, call Alexandra Library 03 448 9412 or email​ or check out the display and catalogue for your human library books at the Alexandra Library.


Page reviewed: 10 Oct 2018 3:10pm