An Invitation to the Human Library

Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library on Friday, Feb. 28, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, March 1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event, and reservations are not required.

The Williams Human Library contains 60 “books:” Williams students, faculty, staff, and community members who have volunteered to  be “checked out” for up to 30 minutes each. Each book shares his or her story in a one-on-one conversation with a “reader,” and each book asks questions of the reader as well, prompting an engaging discussion about their similarities, differences, and life experiences.

Rabbi Rachel will serve as one of these human books on Friday afternoon.

This is the third year that Williams has hosted the event. Last year, more than 250 people checked out human books. This year, the catalog of  human books includes titles such as: “Navy Seal,” “16 Years in Prison,” “Olympic Athlete,” “Gun Shop Owner,” “The Complex Life of a First Gen Student,” “Cancer Survivor,” and “Growing up in the Jim Crow South.” These captivating titles, along with the intimate nature of this project, serve as an opportunity to learn about another community member for a given time and ask them what you want to know. The goal is for the people of the community—both on and off campus—to learn more about each other, to explore and move beyond stereotypes, and to develop a greater understanding of each person’s unique narrative.

The Human Library is an innovative project designed to spark dialogue, reduce prejudices, and encourage understanding and uncomfortable learning. Typically organized by municipal libraries, the Human Library has an international community that includes Australia, Lithuania, Spain, Turkey, and now Williamstown, Mass. The Human Library was conceived more than a decade ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, by a self-initiated, non-governmental youth movement called “Stop The Violence.”

Williams’ Human Library is sponsored by the Gaudino Fund and the Human Library Committee, which is made up of faculty, staff, and students.

To learn more about the Human Library, visit

Master List – Books

 1) Cervical Cancer Survivor and HPV

2) Broadway Stage Manager: The glitz, glamour and boredom

3) The Long Goodbye: 20 years of Mom with Alzheimer’s

4) Williams Admissions Dean

5) Old Williams

6) Third Generation Legacy Student at Williams

7) Firearms Safety Instructor and Gun Shop Owner

8) Olympic Athlete

9) Growing Up in the Middle East

10) Navy Seal

11) Teen Child of Manic Alcoholic

12) Artist/Scientist

13) The Complex Life of a First Gen Student

14) The Journey of a Social Justice Educator

15) Shaman

16) Firewalker

17) Growing up in the Jim Crow South (Saturday only)

18) 16 Years In Prison

19) De-Radicalizing Muslims in Spain

20) Irish Catholic + Black Muslim= Love

21) Questionably Orthodox Jew

22) International Expedition Cyclist

23) First Gen Latino Williams College Student to Professor of Philosophy

24) World War II Veteran

25) Truck Driver

26) Interracial Marriage

27) Iraq War Veteran

28) MBA Student

29) Midwife/Doula

30) Draft Dodger / War Resister: 8 years north of the border (1970-78)

31) Peace Corps Volunteer:  Botswana 2011-2013

32) Man who has never watched TV (Friday Only)

33) Fleeing Communism (Friday Only)

34) Gay College Student

35) Married College Student

36) 11.5 Years of Home Schooling

37) Recovering Alcoholic

38) Memoir Writer

39) White Guy who studies China

40) Raised in Projects and Foster Care (Saturday only)

41) Christian Latina College Student (Saturday only)

42) Libertarian

43) Mutahajebah (Veiled woman)

44) A Palestinian Abroad/ A Palestinian in America

45) Pan Arabism

46) Divestment Advocate

47) From Wall Street to Spring Street

48) Mash It Up: The More Skills, the Merrier

49) I Pick the Movies You See

50) Prosecuting Attorney

51) Active Williamstown Native

52) Fat Woman

53) Theatre Critic

54) Mobile Games and Social Change

55) Trans man/emt/nontrad student (Sat Only)

56) An Atheist from a Religious Family

57) Archaeologist

58) 1.5-generation Jamaican immigrant

59) First Generation Jamaican American Williams College Student

60) Off-cycle Tibetologist/Musician

61) Rabbi/Williams Alum (Friday only)

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