For immediate release | March 15, 2011

Break down barriers at the Human Library @ ALA Annual Conference

CHICAGO – The Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association is seeking volunteers to participate in a Human Library, to be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, June 27 at ALA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Volunteers will serve as “human books” and help attendees better understand people of different backgrounds and cultures. “Human books” are “checked out” for one-on-one, respectful conversations. This unique opportunity allows volunteers to raise awareness of the biases and prejudices that participants have themselves or hold against others. The program ultimately promotes appreciation for differences in background and culture.

The Human Library ( is an outgrowth of a Danish anti-violence campaign. Since 2000, the movement has brought together people of different backgrounds to have meaningful dialogues, comprehend differences and seek common cause. Human Library programs have been hosted around the world, including Iceland, Australia, England, Brazil, Japan and the United States.

To volunteer as a Human Book, or to suggest resources for the event, please contact Julie Winkelstein at

SRRT is a unit within the American Library Association. It works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession. Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today. SRRT believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.


John Amundsen