Human library (or living library) is a pedagogy that seeks to challenge prejudice and discrimination, it refers to the concept of allowing people to “borrow a person” for social contact in order to promote social inclusiveness and challenge prejudice. This concept was started by a Danish Youth NGO called “Stop the Violence” (Foreningen Stop Volden) and they established “The Living Library” in 2000. The concept has been adopted and adapted globally and many human libraries have been established at places such as Ameraica, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan. Scholars studied the impacts of human library and found it helps reduce prejudice (Goebel, 2011; Kudo, Motohashi, Enomoto, Kataoka, & Yajima, 2011; Orosz, Bánki, Bőthe, Tóth-Király, & Tropp, 2016), create social inclusion and harmony (R. Garbutt, 2009; Kinsley, 2009), enhance social justice (Stewart & Richardson, 2011), activating human rights (R. G. Garbutt, 2008) and knowledge sharing (Shannon & Bossaller, 2015). Since 2000, the term “Living Library” has referred to the pedagogy. In 2010, “the Living Library Organisation” (an organization led by Ronni Abergel – one of the founders of the Living Library event in Copenhagen) was renamed “Human Library Organisation” (HLO), and Ronni has gradually trademarked the term “The Human Library™” since 2013. A working group of the European Council explained that the term “Human Library” and “Living Library” refer to the same movement (Little et al., 2011). In general, the term “Living Library” refers to the overall concept and relevant movements, while the term “Human Library” has been gradually used as events specifically run by the HLO. In 2008, the concept of “Living Library” was introduced to academics in mainland China. Since then, living libraries have been established and applied into various social services in mainland China. Since 2011, many Hong Kong based social groups have adopted and/or adapted such living library approach, but none of them have officially linkages with the HLO in Denmark. These living libraries serve to connect the community with various disadvantaged groups, such as ethnic minorities, people recovered from mental health issues, people with physical disabilities, elderly and female, etc..
Garbutt, R. (2009). Social inclusion and local practices of belonging. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1(3), 84–108.
This review uses two community-based projects, Lismore’s Living Library and an Anzac Day peace project called ‘Remembering and Healing Old Wounds’, to illustrate the practices of belonging and promot inclusion. CITATION
Garbutt, R. G. (2008). The living library: some theoretical approaches to a strategy for activating human rights and peace.
This article introduced the development of living library from Europe to Australia. It highlighted the theoretical approaches to living library research, using examples of Lismore's Living Library and the National Living Library Strategy project. CITATION
Goebel, N. (2011). Fags, Blacks and Hutterites: Challenging Prejudice and Stereotypes with the augustana human library. Retrieved from American Library Association, Retreived from http://www. ala. org/acrl/sites/ala. org. acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/nationa l/2011/papers/fags_blacks. pdf.
This study captured example of augustana human library in Canada, which focused on duscussing prejudice and stereotypes. Pre/porst-test of Human Book and Reader on opinions and experiences was examined. Number of responses and percentage were reported. CITATION
Kinsley, L. (2009). Lismore’s living library: Connecting communities through conversation. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, 22(1), 20.
This study captured the development and activities of Lismore's living library at Australia, a very first project of living library in Australia. This paper described the works done in the project. CITATION
Kudo, K. et al. (2011). Bridging differences through dialogue: preliminary findings of the outcomes of the Human Library in a university setting. Shanghai International Conference on Social Science (SICSS), Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan, Shanghai, China. Retrieved from http://humanlibrary. org/assets/files/2011% 20SICSS% 20paper.
Example of Dokkyo Human Library project that was held in Japan from May 2010 to March 2011. Evaluation study was carried out with post-event questionnaire and interviews. CITATION
Orosz, G. et al. (2016). Don’t judge a living book by its cover: effectiveness of the living library intervention in reducing prejudice toward Roma and LGBT people. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 46(9), 510–517.
Evaluation study of living library intervention to N=105 high school students in Hungary. Comparison between have/no contact with Roma and LGBT community in social distance and modern racism was examined with a pre-posttest design. Significance differences were found in both social distance and modern racism for those who had contact with a Roma "Book" and a LGBT "Book". CITATION
Stewart, K. N. & Richardson, B. E. (2011). Libraries by the people, for the people: living libraries and their potential to enhance social justice. Information, Society and Justice Journal, 4(2), 83–92.
This article stated that living libraries hold tremendous potential to raise awareness for issues regarding social justice. As the living library provide opportunities for readers to access the living books, it helps reader to develop deeper understanding of various social issues. CITATION