Written by Joe Fisk
On March 20, the Human Library held in the FRCC Rocky Mountain Room, is a program that offered conversation with ‘human books’; people from various backgrounds and experiences. This was FRCC’s second year doing the Human Library and was open to Westminster residents and FRCC students.
The human books were chosen from a committee with members from the Westminster Public Library, the FRCC College Hill Library, the FRCC Diversity Committee and Student Life. This year’s Human Library had 25 ‘books’ from different backgrounds; religion, gender, sexual orientation, mental health advocates, an immigrant, a civil rights activist, the formerly incarcerated, and many more.
Kristina Kahl, a Human Library committee member involved in creating and organizing the event and faculty in the sociology department, explained the importance of the event.
“You basically get to learn more information about something that you might not be familiar with,” said Kahl. “It really is focusing on folks that are dealing with prejudice, discrimination or stereotyping. We’re often looking at more of the minority group statuses.”
Students in FRCC’s Sociology of Diversity class were also involved in the event, organizing the scheduling of book conversations and signing up readers. This year’s event had seven more human books than last year and many more readers.
“We did it for the first time last year; it was very well attended,” said Kahl, “Front Range was very supportive and said, ‘Please do this again.’We wanted to do it again anyway, but we knew we were going to have all the support backing of Front Range to do it again. So here is our second year, and I think we can safely say we probably tripled our numbers [of readers].”
Jesse Vega, an FRCC student and returning attendee of the Human Library, was glad to see the events growth.
“This is actually my second time doing it,” Said Vega. “I learned the hardships of different kinds of people and their backgrounds. [Last year] they didn’t have many mental health advocates, I think they had one to this years three.”
Throughout the event, Vega talked to three human books, all of different backgrounds. “I talked to a non-binary pansexual and this guy Jose, who’s an immigrant,” said Vega. “I found Ruthie the Rabbi to be pretty interesting. She’s a woman and a Rabbi, which isn’t very common. And she was in the Navy, so she’s kind of a badass. ”
Vega, like many others attended the event with her class. Professors interested in integrating the event with their classes for future Human Libraries are encouraged to contact Kristina Kahl. Considering the success of this years Human Library, the committee hopes to have the event again next year.
“It’s a great way to bring people together, to learn about each other and maybe break down those prejudices, stereotypes, or those one off thoughts one might think about a whole group of people,” said Kahl, “And really to bridge and build connection with all these folks.”