NWU to host first-ever event November 13 for students, faculty and staff

The Human Library® is an interactive immersive storytelling event where Nebraska Wesleyan faculty, staff and students can share their lived experiences and unique perspectives. This event aims to challenge stigma and bias, fostering a deeper understanding between NWU community members through personal conversations.

NWU will host the Human Library® from 2-5 pm on Sunday, November 13. This event, open only to staff, faculty and students this year, will take place in the Cochrane-Woods Library.

What is the Human Library®?

The Human Library® is an internationally recognized event designed to create a positive platform where people of different backgrounds can come together to ask questions, share stories about diverse life experiences, and have conversations that challenge stereotypes, prejudices, and preconceived ideas.

Volunteers are trained to share their stories as human “books” and campus members are invited to participate as book “readers”.

What’s a Human Book?

Graphic of a human with a book for a head with these words around it: aids, alcoholic, anorexic, asperger, asexual, bipolar, bisexual, BDSM, body-modified, bulimic, brain damaged, compulsive gambler, dandelion child, convert, depressive, deaf-blind, disabled, domestic violence, dyslexic, feminist, HIV+, homeless, Jew, journalist, lesbian, muslim, obese, police officer, politician, refugee, roma, scarf girl, schizophrenic, self harmer, sexually abused, stalking, transgender, unemployed, vegan, victim
   Examples of book titles from other Human Libraries.

Each Human Book in the library represents a group in our society that is often subjected to prejudice, stigmatization or discrimination because of their lifestyle, diagnosis, belief, disability, social status, ethnic origin or any other label.

Human books will share their personal experiences through short conversations with "readers".

Human books will receive training and support before, during, and after our Human Library® afternoon.

The Human Library® aligns with two of Nebraska Wesleyan’s core values—diversity and personal attention to students. The event will allow NWU to broaden perspectives on humanity and its diverse cultural expressions among students, faculty and staff. The event will capitalize on the notion that each student is a unique individual, a person of dignity and sacred worth. NWU encourages opportunities for students to develop maturity, personal responsibility and a sense of values and to enhance intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and aesthetic resources. Books are vulnerable, honest, and courageous, which offers the readers an opportunity to listen with compassion and ask questions with genuine curiosity. The Human Library® will benefit the participants beyond the event itself, enabling students and staff to take their experiences and apply them off campus.

What to expect when “reading” a book?

  • Conversations are 30-minutes uninterrupted.
  • Each book will be in a group with 2-5 readers
  • Readers are expected to engage and ask questions.
  • Be courteous and respectful of other viewpoints.

How to participate

All students and employees are invited to participate as a book, a reader or event volunteer.

Ready to share your story? Complete this Human Library® Book form. There is no registration needed if you’d like to "borrow" a book, just come and go as your schedule allows.

To volunteer, contact Karla Jensen, kjensen [at] nebrwesleyan.edu or Yuliia Iziumova at humanlibrary [at] nebrwesleyan.edu.

Additional information

You can find additional resources and research at Human Library® Resources and Research LibGuide.

Test your unconscious bias with this quiz from the Human Library® Organization featuring real books from real Human Libraries.

Human Library® books are real people with real life stories that deal with difficult subjects; if you need someone to talk to, there will be trained counseling professionals at the event. If you need assistance before or after this event, call (402) 465-2464 Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. or email counseling [at] nebrwesleyan.edu to schedule an appointment.


Thanks to The Wolf Fund, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Library Staff, the Cooper Center and the Communication Thru Dialogue class for their support.