Human Library - Real People, Real Stories

A Human Library is designed to break down stigma and prejudice.  The ‘books’ in a Human Library are people, and in a safe environment they can be ‘borrowed’ for a twenty minute conversation about their lives. 

Splice’s first Human Library, in 2016,  at Festival for the Future, offered a broad range of book ‘titles’ including ‘Refugee,’  ‘Busker not Beggar’ ‘HIV Positive,’  ‘Second Generation Hijabi,’ to name just a few.

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Two further Human Libraries followed in 2017, each one focussing on a specific sector of the community that suffers discrimination.  The first, supporting World Homeless Day events, offered conversations with people who have experienced homelessness. The second, on World Aids Day, enlightened borrowers to the challenges of life after being diagnosed HIV positive.

So often we base our perception of people on the stories we tell ourselves about them, but how often do we take the time to listen to them tell their stories so that we can understand it’s not necessarily choice that creates their situations.  

In 2019 we held a further Human Library on national Neighbours Day - read the report here. Further Libraries are planned for UN International Peace Day Sept 21st October for National Library Conference, and for AUT Science conference.

The comment below reflects the powerful effect the Human Library experience has on those who participate. Both ‘books’ and ‘borrowers’ report gaining far more than they ever expected.

‘Wow! What an experience! We need to listen to people’s stories before judging!  Thank you to those brave people for giving me such insight into both homelessness and the levels of prejudice in our society.’

Would you borrow a book person instead of a book? If you have an interesting story to tell, and would like to be a Human Book at an upcoming event please contact Splice team member Joanna Ji (

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