UNJudge Someone

Evanston Public Library Brings Back Program That Challenges Stereotypes and Prejudice Through Dialogue

The Evanston Public Library’s Human Library experience returns for the third time with the challenge to “unjudge someone.” The Human Library offers an opportunity for real people who have faced stereotypes and prejudice, known as “Books,” to be “checked out” to “Readers” for a one-on-one conversation. The event will take place at the Evanston Public Library on Sunday, April 14 from 12-3 pm on the east side of the third floor.

A Book is a person who has volunteered to challenge prejudice through respectful conversation. Books speak about their experiences and engage in a dialogue with Readers who can ask them questions.

“This is a great opportunity for Evanstonians to join a global community that, since the first event in Copenhagen in 2000, has used the Human Library to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience” said Librarian Julie Rand. “Last April we had 10 ‘Titles,’ and we anticipate having 15 or more Titles this year. This event highlights the diversity in our community and why we are committed to meeting the diverse needs of Evanstonians.”

One change for 2019 is an increase in conversation time to 30 minutes from 20 minutes in 2018. Among the ‘Titles’ scheduled so far include:

Gay white man
Holocaust survivor
African American activist
Drag queen
Muslim woman
Mental illness
Female Nigerian-American lawyer

Through this interactive learning experience, Human Libraries have helped people develop awareness and appreciation of our differences.

“One of the more insightful responses we got from a participant last year was, ‘The more interaction we have, the thinner the boundary,’” Rand said.

Evanston is one of several forward-thinking communities in Illinois that sponsor Human Libraries. There also is Human Library Chicago and Human Libraries at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois State University in Normal, and Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago.


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.