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Human Library: Become a Human Book

How Can You Become a Human Book?

Interested in becoming a Human Book at our upcoming event?

New details about the event will be posted here as they become available, including the online Volunteer/Nomination Form and a physical paper version. 

Have questions about being a Human Book? Check out the FAQs below or contact the event organizers.

Book Volunteer/Nomination FAQs

What is my role as a book?

In a Human Library, the books are real people with real stories to tell. If you are a Book, Readers (the people who come to the event) will sit down with you during the Human Library event to listen and learn from you. 

As a Book, you'll be asked to give your story a title. The "bookshelf" at the event will list all of the book titles available. Readers will pick out a title and then volunteers connect them with their Book.  Books have 20 minutes to tell their story and talk with the readers, with 1 - 4 readers listening at a time. Conversations between Books and Readers usually flow naturally. Just be yourself--that will help relax you and relax the Reader with whom you are chatting.


What role will the readers play?

The Readers have the opportunity to "read” as many Books as they please. The purpose of the event is to bring people together who may have never talked otherwise. The Readers will listen to a Book's story, ask questions, and chat for approx. 20 minutes before moving on to a new Book.


How will the environment be kept safe for books?

Maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for you to share your story is our top priority. When members of the public check into the event, they must read and sign a statement agreeing to adhere to the behavioral guidelines in order to participate.

When you volunteer, you will be asked to create a "title" for yourself and that will be used throughout the event. Your name will never be used at the event or in any public documentation or be given out to anyone. You are in control of who knows your name and any other personal details you wish to share with Readers and the media.

A space separate from Naganna Forum, where the conversations will be happening, will be provided for Books. You can use this space to relax, enjoy refreshments/dinner, and take a break to collect yourself if needed. 

A moderator will be continuously walking around the room to help monitor conversations. Human Books will be provided with a method of subtly signaling that a moderator needs to end the conversation. McDaniel College Campus Safety will also be present in the area in the event of any emergencies. 


What do I gain from volunteering to be a book?

Since this is a volunteer position, there is no financial compensation. We provide light refreshments for all event attendees and dinner for our human Books and volunteers on the day of the event. If you require accommodations or need other assistance (such as arranging transportation), please indicate this on the volunteer/nomination form--we don't want any logistical barriers to get in the way of you being a part of this experience as a human Book!

While everyone’s experiences are different, past volunteers at events in other locations have expressed a sense of camaraderie, validation, and pride that comes from meeting fellow volunteers and sharing their stories with members of the public. They also find connections in unexpected places- through members of the public that enjoy sharing their stories as much as our volunteers, through finding that there is more acceptance and knowledge after the interaction, and through the mutual understanding of being human beyond a single identity.


Will there be training to be a book? 

Yes! All Human Books must attend one (1) virtual training session from the Human Library organization before participating in the event. You must fill out the Human Book Volunteer/Nomination Form (linked above) to become a Book or nominate someone else you think would be a good Book and attend a training session.


What can I expect to happen after I fill out the Volunteer Form?

Once you have completed and submitted the Book Volunteer/Nomination Form, a member of our Human Library Planning Team will reach out to you via phone or email to set up an interview. This interview can be done in any format that works best for you, whether that be via phone, in person, or virtually. Please do not stress about the interview! It is not a test for you but rather a chance for us to hear more about your story, to make sure you can commit to the event and its behavioral guidelines, to give you a chance to ask questions, and to determine what orientation date and time works best for you. 


Can I nominate someone else to be a book?

Absolutely! If you know someone whom has a great story they should share with others or who has perhaps experienced discrimination or prejudice based on one or more elements of their identity, we would love to invite them to become a human Book for this event.

On the Book Volunteer/Nomination Form, you have the option to nominate someone other than/in addition to yourself, simply select the corresponding option at the beginning of the form. Your nominee(s) will be contacted shortly phone or email to be informed of their nomination and be asked whether they are interested in volunteering as a human Book. If they agree to volunteer, they will go through the same interview and orientation process as other Books who self-volunteer.

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