Human books offer learning opportunity



The Alexandra Library’s “Human Library” will again offer an opportunity for people with different backgrounds and experiences to learn more about each other.

Library co-ordinator Helen Rendall said the “human books” represented groups in society that could be subjected to prejudice, stigmatisation or discrimination “because of their lifestyle, diagnosis, belief, disability, social status, ethnic origin and much more”.

Members of the public could check out a human book by scheduling time to meet and have a discussion.

This was the third time the library was running the scheme and it had increased in popularity.

Last year, 13 people taking part in the project held 93 conversations with members of the public. In 2017, nine held 39 conversations.

People were welcome to come with friends and they did not have to ask questions unless they wanted to.

“They are not attending a lecture, but having a conversation with our book about topics they would not normally have access to,” she said.

Human book Denise Fowler, of Alexandra, will share her story of bringing up a daughter with intellectual disabilities.

Mrs Fowler has an online blog and writes about some of the experiences she and her family have gone through.

“It has been a bit of therapy for me really, to be able to write about stuff.”

It sometimes felt like “living on a roller coaster” as challenges were faced each day.

She called her story “What about us?” because having a child who was intellectually challenged was sometimes less visible.

“If you have a really noticeable disability people recognise it, but we are continually fighting to get these kids recognised.”

Sharing her story was a way to connect with others to provide more understanding, but also a way to reach out to others who may be in the same situation, to offer advice and help.

Now that her daughter had turned 17, Mrs Fowler felt she was ready to help others.

“I want to be there to help others too.”

Dates to book time to talk to a human book are Thursday, November 7, from 2.30pm-4pm, and 6.30pm-8pm, and Saturday, November 9, from 11.30am-1pm.

For details contact



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Chelsea Donnelly – A Life Less Wine

Anita McLellan – The Unexpected Journey: Dementia

Martyn Williamson – It’s Not About the Tofu: Whole Food Plant Based Eating

Veronika Sim – Growing up in a communist country

Pippa Wellstead – Inclusivity Champion

Denise Fowler – What About Us?

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