With the deepening political divide and the increased splintering of culture across America, the task of relating to one’s fellow man can seem daunting. Yet, precisely for those reasons, it is crucial that we make the effort now to learn about and understand one another. The East Baton Rouge Parish Library is hosting a Human Library™ this spring, a program designed to expand understanding across cultures, present new perspectives, and challenge stereotypes through dialogue.
Each Living Book will share their perspective, answer the reader’s questions, and discuss common stereotypes or prejudices about the culture or community that they represent.
The Human Library Organization was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, as an outgrowth of the Stop the Violence youth organization. Its founders aimed to decrease hate crimes by fostering dialogue among the diverse groups in the community. The first Human Library event featured 50 Living Books, representing all segments of society. The program was such a resounding success that it has been replicated by organizations across the world under the guidance of the Human Library Organization.
Baton Rouge’s first Human Library will be held as part of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s Ebb and Flow Festival, which will be held at the Mississippi Riverfront in downtown Baton Rouge on April 1 and 2. Living Books available at the Ebb and Flow Festival will include titles such as Queer Biracial Genderfluid Dancer, From Zanzibar to Baton Rouge, Atheist in Louisiana, and Man on the Border(line).