Community members volunteered to become human books and share a chapter from their lives as part of the Human Library event held at the Sportsplex on April 28. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard

Terrace locals lay out life chapters like open books for first ever Human Library event

The program is an attempt to start conversations about difficult topics, say organizers

What is it like to never judge a book by its cover? Community members had the opportunity to explore that saying as they sat across individuals, who read out a chapter from their lives, turning themselves into a human library.

Held at the Sportsplex the evening of Thursday, April 28, this was the first time the human library movement took place in a small community like Terrace.

Organized by the Skeena Diversity Society in partnership with the Terrace Public Library, the movement originated in Copenhagen in 2000 and has now spread to more than 80 countries.

The event saw nine individuals turn into human books for the evening. And over 30-minute sessions, the ‘books’ spoke about their experience to a small knit group of listeners who then could ask questions and have a conversation.

The nine books chose diverse topics that ranged from religion, politics, gender, sexuality, race and trauma among others. The human books were ‘South Asian’, ‘Black’, ‘Trauma’, ‘Recovery’, ‘From Velvet Revolution’ to ‘Becoming a Baha’i’, ‘Tall Since 1978’, ‘Polyamory’, ‘Bisexual’ and ‘From Catholic Nun to Ishaya Monk’.

“I love books and I love being able to help people break down boundaries and connect,” said Avya Ishaya, who was one of the human books at the event.

“Life is meant to be meaningful and to be an adventure,” said Ishaya, who told the story of how she went from being a Catholic nun to a monk while living in St. Louis, Missouri where she grew up.

Organizers of the event from Skeena Diversity Society, Ana Silva and Saša Loggin, said they thought bringing the movement to Terrace, because their non-profit works with people who face discrimination and racism, would be helpful in creating awareness and breaking prejudices.

“The aim of holding this event here in Terrace is to start conversations about difficult topics,” Silva said.

“Even having small conversations helps break stereotypes,” she said.

“It takes one person at a time to change our communities in a good way.”