According to Human Library.org,
The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach.
In it’s initial form the Human Library is a mobile library set up as a space for dialogue and interaction. Visitors to the Human Library are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex and cultural background.
The Human Library enables groups to break stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive and humorous manner. It is a concrete, easily transferable and affordable way of promoting tolerance and understanding.
It is a “keep it simple”, “no-nonsense” contribution to social cohesion in multicultural societies.
Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, the project has gone global to 27 countries Including Mexico and the US. The Tucson Pima Library has been the host to Living Library events in the past through the City of Tucson Diversity Team and they have information on the website about how it works:
The Books are people willing to share their expertise; engage in dialogue about their life and/or life experience; and/or dialogue about their “stories”.
The Readers are people, visitors to the Living Library (an individual or a small group) who come to “checkout or borrow” a Book from the library.
The Dictionaries are people who serve as interpreters – i.e., sign language; foreign language; other forms of interpretation.
Books and Reader(s) will sit together in a comfortable spot to engage in a wonderful, often difficult, and sometimes humorous informal dialogue that breaks down stereotypes and some of the most common prejudices. A Dictionary may be required at times.
The Living Library is simply a means of promoting understanding and inclusion.