Challenging prejudice through dialogue
Residents were offered the opportunity to step into another person’s shoes and understand life from a different perspective when Windsor Baptist Church hosted a human library
Just like in a real library, a visitor to the human library can choose from a range of titles: the difference is that books are people and reading is a conversation.
The event organiser was Baptist minister the Revd Kat Bracewell, who said it provided 'a unique opportunity to challenge stereotypes and prejudice, and to build a sense of community in Windsor.'
‘When people understand one another better, problems and barriers between people begin to fall away.’
Members of the public were invited to call in between 11am and 2pm on Saturday 24 March to have a 10 minute conversation with a 'human book' of their choice, and broaden their understanding of human life.
The titles of the ‘human books’ on offer ranged from the traumatic to the life changing. There 18 in total, including:
“Living with Autism: A mother’s story”
“I was addicted for 12 years”
“Living to the full with a terminal diagnosis”
“I gave it all up to teach in Nepal and gained so much more”
“5 friends, £50, a guitar and the open road”
“85 Years Living In Windsor”
The participants were drawn from the connections the church has made through its community café. ‘Everyone knows someone with an interesting story,' said Kat. 'We’ve made contact and many quickly grasped the vision.'
Kat has been involved with two human libraries in Oxford, where she was part of a Restorative Justice project during her time as minister of New Road Baptist Church. She was one of the books, speaking on her experiences as an adoptive parent.
‘I couldn’t believe how much it was buzzing. Lots of people wanted to talk me about adoption. I found it really affirming and encouraging.
‘People live in different ways, and it just gives an insight into someone else’s life. It helps you appreciate human life. We hope it will be helpful for Windsor, where there are issues around homelessness and how we value people.
‘We are delighted to be hosting a human library.'