Posted: 3/16/22

TAMIU Presents First-Ever ‘The Human Library’


Dr. Hayley Kazen
Dr. Hayley Kazen, The Human Library event organizer  

This week, the “book” you can soon check out at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) on March 24 will live and breathe…just like you.

The “books” will be Human and part of University College’s first-ever presentation of “The Human Library” in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library’s Great Room Thursday, March 24 from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. Admission is free of charge and open to all.

Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2000, The Human Library® is a not-for-profit learning platform dedicated to hosting personal conversations to challenge stigma and stereotypes.  It has become an international non-profit operating on six continents and in 80+ countries.  Directed by The Human Library Organization (HLO), it aims to address people's prejudices by helping them talk to those they would not usually meet, using a library analogy that lends people instead of books -- and encourages all to ‘unjudge someone.’  This will be the first time that a Human Library event is held in Laredo.

Organizer Dr. Hayley Kazen, TAMIU University College assistant professional, said Human Books are the backbone of The Human Library, a participatory event where they represent marginalized communities, providing first-hand awareness and insight that challenges prejudices and stereotypes through dialogue. 

“These Human Books are critical to The Human Library experience, and so our students have helped to identify and train individuals who can represent a broad spectrum of the human experience.  Visitors, or readers, coming to The Human Library will select a Human Book and later engage in a timed one-on-one conversation. The event is open to the community and made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas.  It is co-hosted and offered in collaboration with HLO,” Dr. Kazen explained.

She described the Human Books that will power this event. 

“Our Human Books represent areas that HLO recognizes as ‘Pillars of Prejudice.’  These pillars include addiction, disabilities, ethnicity, family relations, gender/sexuality, health, ideology, lifestyle, occupation, religion, and social status.  We’ve made a dedicated effort to create a truly diverse and expansive experience with a broad spectrum of Human Books,” she noted. 

Kazen said she and her students are filled with great optimism about this experience and event, especially given the current world climate and experience.

“We live in a very challenging time where prejudice and stereotypes lead many to unfairly judge a book by its cover. The world’s headlines reflect this daily.   We’re offering this experience as a chance to provide a space where we can question, answer, defy stereotypes and learn more about our shared, multi-faceted human experience together. Our shared hope is that we can all be ‘open books’ for such experiences.  It’s the right time and TAMIU is the right place,” she concluded. 

For more on The Human Library event at TAMIU, contact Dr. Kazen at hkazen@tamiu.edu, or call 956.326.2805.

To learn about The Human Library and The Human Library Organization, visit: humanlibrary.org  This event will continue to observe distancing guidelines and the use of face masks on campus is recommended.

For more on TAMIU, visit tamiu.edu or the University’s social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

brand art for The Human Library