November 6, 2017

Purdue hosting fourth Human Library to improve relations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will host its fourth annual Human Library event Nov. 13.

The Human Library, sponsored by Krannert School of Management's Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center, Purdue Libraries and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life's Inclusion Task Force, is aimed at fighting prejudice and improving relations among those from the university and the Lafayette and West Lafayette communities.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union North and South ballrooms. 

Initiated in Denmark in 2000, the Human Library is a civic engagement tool designed to promote dialogue among community members to reduce biases and encourage understanding. In this library “books” are people, and “readers” check out “books” for an open and safe conversation. 

"The Human Library format can help strengthen dialogue among different cultures, fight bias and promote inclusion," said Candi Lange, director of the Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center. "It provides a safe space for communication and, hopefully, better understanding of differences." 

The Human Library provides a platform for conversations that include unconscious biases that may reduce career and life opportunities. “Books” are not asked to prepare a speech. Instead they come ready to engage in conversation with strangers about biases or stereotypes they have encountered related to their book title. A reader can borrow a book for a 30-minute period. During the conversation, readers are encouraged to ask questions and share their points of view, but always with respect for the book volunteer.

The Human Library will offer more than 50 human books - women and men.

"We all have prejudices and quick judgments we make about people and their circumstances," said Carol Ben-Davies, assistant dean of students. "It's what we do with those thoughts that makes all the difference in bringing our communities together or pulling us apart. The Human Library is perfect in its design to help us hear and learn from people in all walks of life."

For more information, contact  

Source: Candi Lange, 765-494-5768,

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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