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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Texas A&M Libraries hosted 3rd annual Human Library

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Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

Volunteers and residents of Bryan-College Station sat down and had conversations. 

The Human Library is an annual experience that allows its attendees to learn and connect with strangers over the storytellers’ personal experiences.
On March 21, the Texas A&M Libraries hosted the third annual Human Library at the Sterling Evans Library. The Human Library, which is a worldwide non-profit organization, gives a “reader” the opportunity to listen to a “book” — the book being a person who will share a personal life story with readers. Texas A&M Libraries created its own human library three years ago, giving the A&M community an opportunity to listen to the stories and personal experiences of others.
This year’s event had more human books than in previous years, with 31 in total. Each human book gives a title to their story and a short synopsis of what their story is about. Attendees can pick out which story they would like to hear, and from there the reader listens to the human book as they tell their story. Director of marketing and communications for the library system, Patrick Zinn, said that this year the human library has seen a wider range of books than in previous years.
“They range from retired faculty, people from the community and, of course, many students … they all have different kinds of stories they are willing to present,” Zinn said.
Hannele Rubin, instructional assistant professor of journalism studies, was a human book for the event this year, her book was titled “Gray haired Yankee journalist finds herself lost in Texas.”
“I thought it sounded like a really fun concept, the idea of just having sort of an impromptu meetings with people who are just interested in sharing history,” Rubin said. “I just thought it was a really cool way of introducing yourself to other people and of sharing what makes us human,” Rubin said. “I thought the idea of being a human book sort of is a parallel to what you’d find when you open up a real book, which is, it introduces you to worlds that you otherwise wouldn’t know.”  
A&M partnered with Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s  library for this year’s event. Zinn said that Northwestern is hopefully going to start their own human library after working with the university. The event takes six months to a year to plan, and Zinn said it is an amazing group effort made possible by the volunteers.
Psychology senior Maggie Scott was a human book for the event. Her book was titled “Forward and back.” Scott said that she was drawn to the program because it gives people the opportunity to look past outer appearances.

“I figured I’d participate as a way of reminding people that no matter what you’re seeing, there could be more to a person than you’d expect,” Scott said.
Scott said that even if a person does not want to volunteer, they should sit down and have a conversation with the different human books there at the event.
“There are all kinds of people in this program and I guarantee you you’ll always find someone that you’ll find worth speaking to,” Scott said.

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