By Pulse Staff
Many people were unaware of what to expect before attending the Human Library event at the University of Findlay Oct. 11.
“When coming into it, I didn’t know. I didn’t really have an idea of what a human book was.”
UF freshmen Jalen Edwards was intrigued by the concept of the event,
“I thought it was like going to be a physical book that we had to read,” Edwards said. “But the experience was good overall, I enjoyed it.”
The Human Library is a global organization designed to help people “better our understanding of diversity in order to help create more inclusive and cohesive communities across cultural, religious, social and ethnic differences,” according to the humanlibrary.org.
The Findlay-Hancock County Library held an event last year at Findlay High School but wanted to switch the location this year. It reached out to the University and connected with Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) and Phi Alpha (Social Work Honor Society) to host the event.
Kayla Bays, Sigma Tau Delta president at UF previewed the experience saying it was an open dialogue between community members and students and the “books”. She said it was a place where it was acceptable to ask difficult questions.
Edwards says the “book” he checked out talked about growing up with an identity crisis as a Filipino-American.
“I related to it, again, being a minority,” Edwards said who is from Euclid and went to a Catholic high school. “So, I could understand where he was coming from in his story with him being a minority as well.”
Edwards’ experience was just one of many that night. The Findlay-Hancock County Public Library said 85 people including the volunteers and nine ‘books’, attended the event. Joel Mantey, the assistant director of the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library said he was happy with the turnout.
“I’ve seen lots of student involvement coming out and hearing stories,” Mantey said the night of the event. “But a fair number of community members coming out and hearing everything, too.”
Dr. Nikki Diederich, the adviser to Sigma Tau Delta, was also pleased with the attendance.
“I think it’s been great,” Diederich said. “We had a really good student turnout and I’ve seen people from the community here as well, so we’re really happy to be part of the event.”
Students who came to the event got a free T-shirt and refreshments. But Edwards says he got way more than that out of it.
“When he was speaking, he was saying how growing up he was kind of conflicted on who he was as a person and about his race. And I could kind of relate to it,” Edwards said. “He really had an identity crisis. He kind of didn’t really know who he was. And towards the end (of his story), like he kind of came into his own.”
Mantey says that kind of inspirational journey is exactly what he hopes others got out of it as well.
“Just to be aware of individuals as individuals,” Mantey said. “That everyone has their own story that they’re living.”