Students check out 'living books' from Human Library
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 22:09
A less-than-typical library made an appearance at USU this week. Much like any other library, this one was filled with books — but these books were alive.
The Human Library, where “living books” — human beings with stories to tell — are available for students to check out and participate in a conversation with, took place at USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library for its fourth time since its beginning in 2012, said Anne Hendrich, a reference librarian at the library.
The event, which Hendrich said began in Denmark, was brought to USU in 2012 in hopes it would provide students an opportunity to talk with people who may be able to give insight to something they may not fully understand themselves.
“It helps in putting a face on a subject you may have a prejudice on,” Hendrich said. “A lot of these are topics people might not otherwise be able to learn about.”
Hendrich said these conversations are meant to be performed with a mind open to other’s viewpoints, allowing for understanding without judgement.
To provide a diverse selection of human books, Hendrich said participants were gathered through various outlets, including the Extensions and Diversity Center and an on-campus inter-religious discussion group, ensuring a variety of topics to be on display at the library.
“Leaving Bologna Behind: Former Convict Moves Forward” was the title to one book on display at this year’s event. Tommy Thompson, whose run-ins with the law as a student at USU presented him challenges for years of his life, shared his story of overcoming adversity with students.
Thompson told students of how he had come to USU as a freshman and, eager to earn money to pay for his schooling, accepted an offer from a friend to transport a small quantity of drugs from California.
“At the time I thought, ‘I’ll just make a good chunk of change and pay for school,’” Thompson said.
What began as one simple job quickly escalated in scale, Thompson said. Soon the young college student was transporting large quantities of multiple controlled substances, motivated to continue by money he could use to pay for his schooling.