Human books ready to share

Human Library books (from left) Kerryn Douglas, Bridget Forsyth and Ella Lawton, all of Invercargill, will be on loan to ‘readers' during the Kick It Women's Festival next week.

A LIBRARY with a difference, where real people are the books on loan to readers, will be held on Sunday, August 15, as part of the Kick It Women’s Festival.

KIND Women, who are hosting the festival, have included the Human Library to be held at He Waka Tuia Art + Museum on the corner of Kelvin and Don Sts, Invercargill, from noon to 2pm.

Event organiser Rebecca Amundsen, of Invercargill, said the festival was inclusive of all women and had something for everyone, with plenty of inspiration for women and girls of all ages.

She encouraged people to come along to the Human Library to meet and connect with others in the community they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to talk to, and not to be afraid to try it.

“It’s about having fun, learning about others and making connections.”

A worldwide movement for social change, the Human Library concept began in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2000 with the aim of creating safe spaces for dialogue where topics could be discussed openly between a human book and their reader.

The concept had spread to more than 80 countries and all Human Books were volunteers with personal experience about their topic.

KIND Women decided to introduce the Human Library idea as part of the festival because it had been held previously in South Invercargill by South Alive, and as a way to help build connections in the community, Ms Amundsen said.

“It is a great way to support and enhance the voices of women in our community… a way for them to tell their stories.”

There would be 12 or 13 human books available for loan during the afternoon, including fiction and non-fiction titles from songwriting and a musician to life coaching, a medieval sword fighter and steamology.

Sessions would run for about 10 minutes each, and each book would have a set topic for discussion.

Human book Kerryn Douglas, of Invercargill, said she wanted to take part for the opportunity to share stories such as “why we are where we are”. Her topic would cover “overcoming adversity”.

Fellow human book Ella Lawton, of Invercargill, said it would be “a cool opportunity for women to get together and share stories and inspire each other”.

A member of the rainbow community, human book Bridget Forsyth, of Invercargill, said the Human Library concept was a “cool idea… to be able to introduce people to different people in life”. Her book would be about “why we are who we are”.

Ms Amundsen said she hoped participants would have the opportunity “to learn about things they may have always wanted to ask about.

“Hopefully, it will inspire other book readers to pursue their goals… not give up and to take strength from other people’s experiences.”