Human Library

There are libraries where you can borrow a person instead of a book.

Sign saying: Human Library

Instead of reading a book, you spend 30 minutes learning about the person, or the 'human book'. "We publish people like open books on a given topic. Our readers ask questions and get answers from their 'book'," the Human Library organization says.

Unsurprisingly, these libraries are probably the only ones in the world where talking is actually encouraged and visitors are asked not to 'judge a book by its cover.'

The goal of the Human Library Organization is to address people's prejudices by helping them to talk to those they would not normally meet or speak with. "The Human Library Organization is a global movement working to build spaces in the community for personal dialogue about issues that are often difficult, challenging and stigmatizing," the organization says.

The Human Library was created by Ronni Abergel, a Danish human rights activist and journalist who became interested in non-violence activism after a friend he describes as a "troubled youth" survived a stabbing in Copenhagen. He wondered if a human library could bring people together peacefully like a traditional one.

He launched the first Human Library at the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen in 2000. It ran for four days with eight hours of conversations each day. More than 1,000 people took part.

The next Human Library was hosted in Oslo, Norway, by Abergel for the Nordic Minister Councils youth assembly. The first permanent Human Library was established in Lismore, Australia, in 2006.

As of 2022, the project has grown to have partners in more than 80 countries across the world. Want to know more? Check out