Monday, April 26, 2010

I felt well being a Human Library Book

Today I had the opportunity to be a 'book' for the Human Library . A Human Library is, "a mobile library set up as a space for dialogue and interaction. Visitors to the Human Library are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex and cultural background" [see Human].

On this occasion, I was talking about my journey from long term illness back to paid employment; and from the 'white knuckle ride' I experienced initially, returning to work with a memory impairment, to my present circumstances, where I feel much more comfortable, both, in my job and in my skin. 

I was 'loaned' three times and had conversations with folk who otherwise would have remained perfect strangers. My 'Readers' couldn't have known this, but prior to the session I was experiencing one of my periodic 'lows'; a 'condition' which sometimes creeps up on me, riddling me with self-doubt. 

However, I can tell you, this experience was transformative for me. Only three conversation later and I was flourishing. In the language of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, I was using three of the 5 wellbeing 'ways' - namely, give, keep learning and connect

The Human Library isn't only a wonderfully 'organic' way to challenge prejudice and stereotypes, it is also a very powerful wellbeing 'tool' - powerful, in a good way, for everyone who takes part (and I speak advisedly, having been a borrower in previous events). There is a lot of power in creating a conversation; in making contact and communicating your story, and sharing time with others. 

If you are interested in being involved in a Human Library event, contact 
Oz Osbourne or Nick Little.



  1. Hi Colin - what an excellent account of the experience of being a Human Book. This concept is really growing in importance with 50 countries now involved. We're really proud that Norfolk is at the forefront of UK activity and thanks for the contributions you are making! Cheers, Oz.

  2. Hi Oz,

    It was a really interesting experience, and I feel that the Human Library is such a powerful (literally!) people-shaped idea. Onwards and upwards!