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The Human Library builds a positive framework for conversations that challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Neil Hellman Library remains committed to diversity, inclusion, and free inquiry and, in providing a space where this dialogue takes place, affirm participants’ rights to safety and dignity.
Ground Rules for the Human Library
In order to build an environment that encourages open discussion, The Neil Hellman Library has set the following ground rules for participant behavior:
Treat other participants with dignity, respect, care, and courtesy at all times.
Avoid inappropriate verbal language or physical gestures during the Human Library event.
Do not express or act on the very prejudices and stereotypes that the Human Library seeks to dispel - e.g., homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, transphobia, ageism, ableism etc.
Remember that participants are expressing their own personal viewpoints. Do not ask "why all autistic people do this?" or "What do black people think about this subject?" No one member of a group can speak for all the other members.
Be careful and sensitive when using humor - not everyone may get the joke. Check-in with people to confirm they are ok with humor, teasing, jokes, etc., particularly if they are looking uncomfortable.
Do not recruit, evangelize, or proselytize your views, beliefs, or politics with a view to conversion during the Human Library event. Discussion and debate, yes; Recruitment, no.
Do not take advantage of inside knowledge of the particular vulnerabilities of sensitive participants to abuse, bully, coerce, hurt, manipulate, or shame.
No threatening or intimidating behavior towards others, whether physical, verbal or psychological.
Do not deliberately give offense to another participant.
If you take offense at something -- it may be unintended or accidental -- and you feel able to, try to confirm the context and whether cultural or communication differences may have accounted for it. Ask questions to clarify.
PLEASE raise and report issues with any of the above if they occur to librarians and facilitators.