Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Thursday, 3 March 2016

World Book Day - the Whittaker Library recalls the LGBT Human Library

Last year, as part of LGBT History Month and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's own Bridge Week, the RCS's Gender Equality Society ran a Human Library. This was to get people talking openly together about their sexual orientations, gender presentations and identifications. It also increased the visibility of LGBT students and staff within RCS.

A Human Library is one made up of people, instead of books. Visitors came along and picked a person to “loan out” i.e. chat to for 10 minutes. There were 15 “books”, who all identified as part of, or are an ally of, the LGBTQI+ community.* They all chose a title for themselves as a book for a “conversation starter”, e.g. “Binary Breaker”, and these were displayed on the wall around the library.

Both the “books” and the people who visited the library experienced meaningful conversations around gender and sexuality. This also allowed a space for those who are part of the RCS LGBTQI+ community to connect and talk about their shared experiences.

These conversations were captured in an informal setting, after the project, with all the books listening to each other. We hope the openness, frankness and complexity of each individual book comes across, as it really was an enriching process for all who took part.

You can have a look at one or all of the books by visiting the Human Library here.

* LQBTQI+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning and Intersex

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