Checking people out in the most wholesome way

Tarleton Libraries and DEII are hosting the “Human Library” event

In November 2022, the Tarleton Library and the Division of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and International Programs are hosting the “Human Library.”

The “Human Library” event started in Denmark in 2000 with the mantra of “unjudge someone.” Tarleton Libraries is in the process of licensing the program.

The Assistant Director of Engagement and Research Services at the Dick Smith Library, Dr. Kym Herd, is the one who had the idea for Tarleton to initiate this event. In collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and International Programs (ODIIP) and the Federal TRIO Program, both under the ODIIP now, Tarleton held their first Human Library event last year.

“I think it is a fun program. I had heard about it for years and it was something I always wanted to do,” Dr. Herd said. 

This event features volunteers with uniquely-lived experiences that will act as “library books” that can be “checked out.” This will include 30 minute one-on-one sessions over the course of three hours with the goal of eliminating stereotypes within different groups of people and being able to connect with them in a secure and stable environment. 

“We are trying to combat prejudice, stigma, and stereotypes, so each human library book will represent a ‘pillar of prejudice,’” Dr. Herd said.

These pillars include religion, ideology, ethnicity, health, addiction, victim, disability, gender/sexuality, occupation, lifestyle, and family relations. Each of these pillars have multiple subcategories in them. 

“We want to have as many pillars represented in the human library so people can get a chance to get to talk to people that they might not otherwise encounter,” Dr. Herd said. “Getting the chance to meet people that are not like you is one of the best parts of the college experience.”

Some examples of people in previous events include individuals struggling with mental health, non-traditional or first-time students, individuals from minority groups, individuals living with food or shelter insecurity, individuals who have experienced the immigration process, individuals who have experienced growing up in a small/rural or large/urban community, individuals who have jobs with attached stereotypes, and individuals who have experienced stereotypes related to Greek Life. This list is non-exhaustive. 

“This is a really eye-opening opportunity, it provides a [space] to ask questions that people may be too embarrassed to ask,” Dr. Herd said. “To have a way to foster conversation in a safe, controlled environment is a strong benefit to the community and Tarleton students.” 

The Human Library event at the Stephenville campus will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center Ballrooms. The event at the Fort Worth campus will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in CAB Rooms 121-122. 

“This is a platform to help bridge the gaps, ask the questions, get more comfortable, and realize we are all people,” Dr. Herd said.

For more information about the Human Library events, visit or email Dr. Kym Herd at [email protected]