We’ve asked libraries across Colorado to submit program they’ve run in the last year that they’re proud of and they want the rest of us to see and celebrate. Sharing stories in books is great… but what about our stories? The stories of the ways our libraries bring the community together, enrich the lives of our neighbors, and serve the people who live and work in our cities and towns.
Africa Garcia, Outreach Librarian, answered our call and we’re excited to let them tell you about Poudre River Library District’s Human Library in their own words.
Library Name: Poudre River Public Library District
City/ Town: Fort Collins, CO (and surrounding areas)
Program Name: Human Library
Date/ Date Range of Program: February 26, 2023
Intended Audience: Everyone! (However, children and teens had to be with an adult)
Description (from the official Human Library site linked above):
Typical libraries offer print books and digital eBooks for check out, but the Human Library® allows participants – or Readers – to borrow a human Book and engage in conversations about their unique stories, particularly their experiences in Fort Collins regarding their identity/identities. The Human Library program creates a safe and non-judgmental environment for curious and often taboo conversations that will challenge prejudices and promote understanding of differences. The program encourages all participants to “unjudge” a human Book by its cover.
Readers will have the opportunity to check out four human Books, community volunteers who have been subjected to bias, stereotyping, or intolerance due to their lifestyle, race, beliefs, disability, etc. For example, a Reader may wish to converse with a Book who identifies as gay, Black, body artist, wheelchair user, etc. and explore their experiences in our community. The hope is that everyone, Readers and Books, gain new understandings that advance acceptance and inclusion among diverse groups.
How did you come up with the idea for this program?
We were actually approached by the City’s Human Relations Commission with the idea.
What partners (if any) did you work with in developing or implementing this program?
What about this program did you find successful? How did you measure the success of this program?
Attendance (130 readers + 26 books).
Feedback (we collected formal feedback through an online form and also spoke to participants in a more informal setting and everyone enjoyed the event very much). Post-event comments (we’ve received questions/comments from community members who would like this to be an annual event).
Africa Garcia has permitted us to share their contact information so that anyone interested in reaching out to them about their program can do so. It is an incredibly generous offer of which you are invited to avail yourself if you’re inspired by their work and want to celebrate them or if you have questions about ways you can follow their lead.
To reach Africa, email them at email@example.com
Resources shared in this post include:
- Links to the Human Library organization
- Links to partner organizations and groups
- Links the Poudre River Library District website
- Human Library Flyer English (PDF)
- Human Library Flyer Spanish (PDF)
- Human Library Poster English (PDF)
- Human Library Poster Spanish (PDF)
Colorado State Library (and the readers of this point as well, no doubt) understands how time consuming, emotionally draining, costly (in so many ways), and challenging it can be to run a program or project. Sometimes they fail gloriously… sometimes they fail with barely a whisper. It can be hard to recover from that. You’ve worked so hard!… and it just didn’t work out. Be gentle with yourself. Self-reflect. Pick up the pieces. And then get to the next thing. It’ll be worth it.
For all those other times, be sure to celebrate. Brag about it! Feel good about yourself, the team that collaborated on your work, and the community members who participated with it. Celebrate your hard work and the value that you contribute to your community.
Tell us the story of your program just like this library did here. Submit your library’s program for a Program Spotlight featured here and shared as far as Colorado State Library news reaches.
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