Human Library provides opportunity to connect with others

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The Human Library will be held on Thursday from 4-7 p.m.

Ashley Quintela

Eighteen applications ended up on Claire Chamley’s desk, each with a unique story waiting to be told.

From activists and scientists to sexual abuse survivors and veterans, Criss Library’s fourth annual Human Library will feature 14 people to share their stories with whomever wants to listen.

The event will be held on Thursday from 4 – 7 p.m. and is open to students, faculty and the general public.

Chamley, library associate, said when choosing the human library books, she looked for interesting stories.

“We were looking for people who have diverse stories or experiences,” she said.

Applicants went through an interview process where they were asked questions about their stories. The event, Chamley said, is aimed to broaden people’s horizons through captivating storytelling.

“It’s good being able to learn about someone’s life different from yours,” she said. “It can really help give you a broader view of people in the world.”

Ashlei Spivey is among the 14 human library books eager to spread her wisdom to others.

“This is a great opportunity, and I am excited UNO is doing this,” Spivey said.

Spivey is an activist who works to support organizations and create social change by uplifting communities of color and demonstrating opportunities for leadership. In middle school, Spivey said she realized the private school she attended did not celebrate Black History Month or even take the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

So, at the age of 11, she began her journey as an activist by creating bulletin boards suggesting the importance of Black History Month and giving presentations to the school board.

“I always felt at a young age I was treated different than everyone else.”

Spivey said she applied for the event in order to introduce a different perspective to the world, even though it is sometimes difficult to share her story.

“I feel like it’s necessary for my activism,” she said. “It’s a responsibility, and I want to carry that load.”

During the event, Chamley said participants are encouraged to browse the selection of human books, then check one out at the registration table. Participants will be permitted to have a 30-minute one-on-one conversations with their book.

“Where the conversation goes is up to both of the participants,” Chamley said.

Chamley said the event has sparked a lot of positive feedback through the years.

“People really enjoy this,” she said. “People seem to walk away with a good experience. Some of the human books have talked about how it’s really cathartic to talk to someone about their story.”

While some find it cathartic, others are just hoping to instill a new found motivation into their listeners.

“I hope people walk away with a sense of responsibility,” Spivey said.

The human books featured in the 2018 Human Library are:

  • Amber Barcel I Adoptee
  • Randy Beagley I Ex-FLDS Member
  • Kat Clyde I Air Force Veteran
  • Anna Di Ruocco & Leo I Service Dog Handler
  • Wendy Hamilton I Disability Rights Activist
  • Peggy Jones I Artist and Scholar
  • Miles Jordan I Self-titled
  • Wendy Kaiser I Bereaved Parent
  • Cindy Krafka I Native American Artist
  • Dominique Morgan I Advocate
  • Charlie Rabideaux I Educator
  • Eli Rigatuso I Two-spirit Transman
  • Ashlei Spivey I Activist
  • Jenna Yentes I Scientist