VIJAYAWADA: In a first-of-its kind initiative undertaken by any State government in the country, Vijayawada witnessed the first human library inaugurated at Tagore memorial library on Sunday. One might have heard of e-books, audiobooks and even virtual books but human library is a rare concept, where people are borrowed as ‘books’ who in turn share their experiences. Human Library is a library of people, it replaces books with human beings.
The first human library started in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2000. Later, the human library made inroads into India with IIM, Indore taking the lead in organising the first human library in 2016, followed by Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi this year. Vijayawada stands in the list of the five human libraries in the country, after its launch on Sunday.
The concept is similar to that of a traditional library. Just like a book is read and discussed or shared among like minded readers, the human library has people engaging in conversations. Like books, participants of the human library can be picked from a list to engage in conversations and share stories on a one-on-one basis. A couple of readers can opt for the same living book or even with a group.
In a human library, a catalogue of human books will be displayed which their availability schedule. Based on the availability, the reader can choose a person (human book) depending on the subject he wants to interact with. For a stipulated amount of time, that human book would be given to the reader for interaction in the library premises.
K Sandhya Rani, In-Charge of AP Grandhalaya Parishad, said, “The human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. It is a place where real people are available for interaction to share their life experiences, knowledge and give a positivity to the readers. These kind of libraries and human books creates more interest and imparts more knowledge than any medium. Even a person who cannot study the alphabets can also gain knowledge through the interaction with human books.”
P Parvathi, Director of Government libraries in AP, said that the idea of setting up a human library would change the face of government libraries in the State.After the inauguration of the first human library in the State, human book M Bala Latha, a civil ranker from Hyderabad, shared her story with the audience on how she made it to civils despite being physically challenged. She said that her father played a role of human book in her life, to support her in all ways and give her courage and confidence. She added that a human library isn’t just a book you read without thinking.