Human Library Project Returns to Williams College

Human Library Project at Williams College
Promoting Dialogue, Reducing Prejudice
Friday & Saturday, February 27 & 28, 2015

Founded in 2001 in Denmark to promote human rights and social cohesion, the human library project seeks to create greater understanding between people and provide a safe space where we can learn more about each other and work through stereotypes and discrimination present in our community in order to ultimately to forge new connections between people. Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28 from 1-4pm  at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required.

The best kind of learning takes place experientially, when we get to interact with materials and navigate situations in a way that allows us to make discoveries. However, we can’t learn everything experientially – sometimes, we have to simply take someone’s word to be true when it’s not possible to have a lesson for ourselves. And what do we do when an experience isn’t accessible and nobody around us has any useful input? We head to the library, and find a book to provide us with the information that we desire. There’s just one problem with books, though – as information-filled as they are, they can’t answer your questions!

This Friday and Saturday, Williams College in Williamstown, MA, presents a unique (and very rare!) opportunity to not only learn from books, but to have them answer your questions, too! The 2015 Human Library is, as its name implies, made up not of actual books but of human books – human beings whose unique life experiences make up volumes and volumes of information, stored amongst a network of brain cells and synapses instead of a stack of bound pages. Open from 1-4pm on Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th, the Human Library offers nearly forty different human books who can be checked out for periods of up to half an hour. Each human book will begin by answering a few (3-5) predetermined questions before allowing their borrower to ask their own questions… Read the rest of this entry »

Human Library Project at Williams College Promotes Dialogue and Reduces Prejudice

Human Library Project at Williams College
Promoting Dialogue, Reducing Prejudice
February 28 & March 1, 2014

Founded in 2001 in Denmark to promote human rights and social cohesion, the human library project seeks to create greater understanding between people and provide a safe space where we can learn more about each other and work through stereotypes and discrimination present in our community in order to ultimately to forge new connections between people. Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Mar. 1 from 1-4pm  at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required.

The best kind of learning takes place experientially, when we get to interact with materials and navigate situations in a way that allows us to make discoveries. However, we can’t learn everything experientially – sometimes, we have to simply take someone’s word to be true when it’s not possible to have a lesson for ourselves. And what do we do when an experience isn’t accessible and nobody around us has any useful input? We head to the library, and find a book to provide us with the information that we desire. There’s just one problem with books, though – as information-filled as they are, they can’t answer your questions!

This Friday and Saturday, Williams College in Williamstown, MA, presents a unique (and very rare!) opportunity to not only learn from books, but to have them answer your questions, too! The 2014 Human Library is, as its name implies, made up not of actual books but of human books – human beings whose unique life experiences make up volumes and volumes of information, stored amongst a network of brain cells and synapses instead of a stack of bound pages. Open from 1-4pm on Friday, February 28th and Saturday, March 1st, the Human Library offers more than sixty different human books who can be checked out for periods of up to half an hour. Each human book will begin by answering a few (3-5) predetermined questions before allowing their borrower to ask their own questions… Read the rest of this entry »

Human Library Event Helps Participants Move Beyond Stereotypes

Williams College Invites Community to Experience the Human Library on February 10 & 11, 2012

Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 10, from 11am-3pm. and Saturday, Feb. 11, from 1-3pm. at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required. The Human Library at Williams contains 35 to 40 books: living people who have volunteered to be “checked out” for 25 to 30 minutes each. As a reader, a visitor will be able to start a one-on-one conversation with any book in the Library. This is an opportunity to borrow another person for a given time and ask them what you want to know. The goal is for members of our community—both on campus and off—to learn more about each other, to explore and move beyond stereotypes, and to develop a greater understanding of each person’s unique story.

The idea of checking a person out from a library sounds like it came out of a futuristic science fiction novel.  In reality, it’s actually part of Williams College’s Human Library event in Williamstown, MA!  Instead of a traditional library where books and checked out and read, the human library is full of people who can be “checked out” and asked questions!  The human books will answer questions and help explain to their “readers” everything there is to know about their topic.  The goal of the event is to build community, encourage community members to learn more about each others’ life experiences, and to help the community begin to move beyond stereotypes.

Human books are available on topics like evangelical Christianity, feminism, Olympic athletics, Iraq War veterans, and more.  Each topic is something that the human book has experienced in their own lives, and the information provided is firsthand.  The event is appropriate for teens and parents- older kids can learn about acceptance and reducing prejudice, and can use the event to supplement cultural studies and/or studies of race, gender, and privilege.  The Human Library will be open at the college’s Paresky Center on February 10th from 11am-3pm and February 11th from 1-3pm.  For more information, call 413-527-9277.  The event is free and open to all.

A campus map can be found on the web at www.williams.edu.

4 Western MA College’s Host National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Four Western MA College’s Host
National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Girls try out lacrosse, squash, softball, golf and many other sports during National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Title IX, the law that made sex-based discrimination in school sports illegal, turns 40 this year!  Young women can celebrate their equality by participating in National Girls and Women in Sports Day at a local Western MA college campus!  The national event takes place on February 1st, but local colleges are hosting their own special days in the weeks before and after the day.

Smith College’s event will take place on Sunday, January 29th from 12:30-4pm in Northampton, MA.  Girls in grades 3-5 are invited to the campus to take part in workshops on sports like rowing, tennis, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, and rock climbing.  Girls will get to choose which sports they learn about- it’s a great opportunity to try out something new, or to learn about a sport that has not traditionally been a women’s sport.  To register, visit www.smithpioneers.com.

Williams College will host their National Girls and Women in Sports celebration on Saturday, February 4th in Williamstown, MA.  Taking place from 10:30am-1:30pm, the event is similar to Smith’s in that it features workshops with student athletes on a variety of sports!  Girls who take part in the event can also take a yoga class or try out rowing!  The event is followed by a women’s basketball game against Bowdoin College, and girls who participated in the event can attend for free.  Girls in grades K-6 can attend.  To register, e-mail erd1@williams.edu.

Springfield College celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Saturday, February 11th from 9am-2pm.  Girls in grades K-6 can visit the school and take part in sports and exercise workshops, and they’ll get to meet the Springfield College women’s basketball team, too (There’s an opportunity to see a game after the event as well.)!  National Girls and Women in Sports Day is not only a way for girls to learn more about sports, it’s a way for kids to learn new and exciting ways to get active and an opportunity for them to see real life examples of successful female athletes.  Registration requested by calling 413-748-3756.

UMass’ celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day takes place on Sunday, February 19th from 12noon-1:15pm in Amherst, MA.  Girls can learn about and try out sports like lacrosse, field hockey, cheer leading, rowing, soccer, and more!  The event also includes a ticket to a women’s basketball game at the Mullins Center at 2pm.  Registration required by calling 413-577-7252.

Taking part in one of the events or just learning about the day can be an empowering experience for young female athletes.  Learning from women who have mastered a sport will show girls an attainable level of skill in a sport, and will provide a realistic picture of where playing a sport can get them in life.

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