Briarcliff Manor Library to Host Inaugural Human Library Program

Pictured from left to right are Ola Nosseir, founder of Our Common Beliefs, and Donna Pesce and William Townsend of the Briarcliff Manor Public Library.

On Saturday, April 30, the Briarcliff Manor Public Library will host its inaugural Human Library program. Using library terminology to match “Books” or those who have experienced prejudice, with “Readers”, those who want to learn more, the Human Library is a hands-on learning platform with the goal to “unjudge” people.

During the event, a Reader will check out a Book for a 30 minute conversation, creating a safe space for open dialogue. The Book and Reader will be able to discuss topics openly and broach potentially difficult subjects that the Reader may not generally have access to in everyday life.

Library staff, trustees, Library Friends and volunteers will be on staff to help “check out” Books to their Readers and facilitate a space for the two to converse. Once registered for a time slot, the Reader will come to the library’s front desk where they will see the titles of available Books they can choose from. A volunteer will then escort the Reader to their Book for a 30 minute conversation.

Developed in Copenhagen in 2000, the Human Library’s original event was open for four days straight, eight hours a day and featured over 50 different books. Today, the global initiative exists in more than 85 countries. The Human Library works to create a safe framework for conversations meant to help challenge prejudice, rid discrimination, prevent conflict and aim for greater human cohesion across a multitude of divisions.

Library Director Donna Pesce is looking forward to this inaugural event. “This program is a community-initiated offering. A local resident brought the suggestion to the Village Board and we have received a lot of support. The Library Board, the Friends, the staff and our patrons are all very supportive and we are looking forward to a great first event, helping to create dialogue within the community “.

The afternoon will open with Sabine Werner, a former Village Trustee, who will give welcoming remarks. Light refreshments will be served. To register or for more information contact Donna Pesce, dpesce@wlsmail.org. Registration is limited but we hope it will have a profound impact on all participants.

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