ACADEMICS | Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s not just sound advice, it is also the motto of the Human Library, a worldwide movement for social change based on literacy and libraries. For five years, the William H. Hannon Library has recruited faculty, staff and students to become the volumes and share their stories in short, personal conversations with library patrons.
This year’s theme, “Global Perspectives,” brings international experiences to the forefront. The Hannon Library has partnered with the Office for International Students and Scholars to truly present LMU’s global imaginations.
“The Human Library opens us up to the experiences of individuals who embody the international community,” said Kris Brancolini, dean of the library. “It personalizes the global imagination through intimate, one-on-one conversation. It’s what going to college, getting a liberal education, and stepping out into the world is all about.”
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 8 in the Media Lounge next to Starbucks, faculty, staff, and students from LMU’s schools and colleges will be available to share their stories. The participants include: students Luciano Manfredi Console, Alba Rodriguez Juan, Brenda Quintanilla, and Yiwen Liu; faculty members Arnab Banerji, Chris Chapple, Herbert Medina, Jose Garcia Moreno, visiting Fulbright scholar Yao Jian, David Sapp, Eric Strauss, Angela Torres, Robin Wang, and Mugdha Yeolekar; and staff members Paul Vu and Elias Wondimu. The countries represented include China, the former Czechoslovakia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Mexico, United States, Vietnam, and more.
One of this year’s human books is titled “I Swim with Piranha (and then I eat them),” which is described as:
“This human book is an LMU faculty member who has traveled to over 50 countries. He is an explorer. He is curious. He taught at a university in China and conducted research at a college in Spain. He appreciates a sense of humor and a good fish tale. He drank ice wine in Montreal and banana juice in Marrakesh. He was a hiker in Iceland and a Fulbright scholar in Colombia. While traveling in the Pantanal wetlands in rural Brazil, he swam with a school of piranha, then fished for them, then ate them for dinner while alligators watched. He is brave, so he tells his wife and friends. He feared only the mosquitoes. Next summer, in the company of his father, he hopes to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands. He says ‘yes’ to invitations.”
A second human book offering is titled “Always an Alien: Navigating America as a Brown Immigrant,” described as:
“I’m a first-generation immigrant in the United States who has lived and worked in three distinct areas of the country: the South, the Mid-Atlantic, and the West. I’ve navigated culture shock and cultural difference, dealt with the new weather, encountered racism, and made friends along the way.”
The Human Library’s official website describes how the organization builds a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. It is also an opportunity to learn about some of the amazing people who are part of the LMU community.