The Hu­man Li­brary lets you CHECK OUT a per­son and hear THEIR story – just don’t JUDGE these BOOKS by their COV­ERS.


How are we to un­der­stand each other if we don’t have the op­por­tu­nity to talk to each other?” This is the ques­tion Ronni Abergel, a Dan­ish jour­nal­ist and one of the cre­ators of the Hu­man Li­brary, posed.

In 2000, Ronni and his brother, Dany, held the first Hu­man Li­brary event in Copen­hagen as part of Roskilde Fes­ti­val. Fifty peo­ple made them­selves avail­able as ‘books’ to be bor­rowed, and more than 1000 ‘read­ers’ checked them out over four days. Now, there are chap­ters of the Hu­man Li­brary around the globe and events have been held in 70 coun­tries.

The idea of the li­brary is to fos­ter con­ver­sa­tions be­tween peo­ple who wouldn’t or­di­nar­ily come into con­tact with one an­other in or­der to break down stereo­types, re­duce stigma and cre­ate so­cial co­he­sion within the com­mu­nity.

Read­ers can bor­row ‘books’ on top­ics such as de­pres­sion, body mod­i­fi­ca­tion, HIV and home­less­ness. Tough ques­tions are not just tol­er­ated, they’re wel­comed.

A Hu­man Li­brary TV show de­buted in Den­mark this year, and a se­ries of posters de­pict­ing their ‘global best­sellers’ was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with Dan­ish com­mu­ni­ca­tions agency Kom­mu­nika­tions­bu­reauet Køben­havn to cel­e­brate 15 years of the pro­ject spread­ing around the world.

Meet some of the ‘books’…

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