Delve into the life story of someone in this unique experience, a global initiative to increase understanding and empathy.
On Sat., April 29 at Central Library, the Human Library comes to Arlington.
At this in-person event developed by the Human Library Organization in Denmark, human "readers" are invited to check out a “human book" for an enlightening conversation. A “human book” speaks to their lived experience as a person who is commonly judged by society for some aspect of their existence.
Our “human books” are volunteers and active members of the Arlington community or the Washington metropolitan area.
“Everyone has a story,” said library director Diane Kresh. “As part of National Library Week, we are thrilled to host this global initiative, the Human Library, that increases understanding of 'others' through open, respectful conversations.”
Attendees, also known as "readers," will be able to borrow "human books" for 30-minute conversations. All human books come with a title and synopsis to help readers select what they would like to "read" (i.e. with whom they would like to converse).
The book will introduce themselves and tell you a little about themselves before you begin to ask questions. If a book you would like to read is not immediately available, you can place a hold for a later timeslot. Readers in a family or small group can check out a book together. All books and checkout periods will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
This event is best for ages 14 and older. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. There is a Code of Conduct and expectations of behavior for participants.
Invited “human books” include: "Blind/Low Vision," "Black Transgender Man," "Tattoo Artist," "Bipolar Disorder," "Anxiety Disorder," "Previously Incarcerated" and "Nonspeaking Autism."
The Human Library® creates a safe space for dialogue where topics are discussed openly between our human books and their readers. All of our human books are volunteers with personal experience with their topic. The Human Library® is a place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.
Arlington Reads Launches New Author Series, 'Get Graphic'
Arlington Public Library’s long-running signature author talk program Arlington Reads turns the page to the next chapter with "Get Graphic."
The year-long series features a diverse lineup of four award-winning and New York Times bestselling graphic novel authors: Alison Bechdel (Mar. 9), Jerry Craft (Apr. 27), Gene Luen Yang (May 4) and Art Spiegelman (Sep. 21). Due to a scheduling conflict, Liana Finck has been canceled.
"The program brings together people to talk about books and the important topics of our time," said Library Director Diane Kresh.
These authors focus on a character’s experiences intersected with social commentary, history, identity and self-discovery, using the graphic novel format to challenge our societal norms and invite us to discover uncomfortable truths and new ways of seeing.
Alison Bechdel – Thursday, March 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Library Director Diane Kresh will lead a conversation with Alison Bechdel, author of "Fun Home." Bechdel will share insights about her long career as an American cartoonist.
In Bechdel’s autobiography, the author and cartoonist combines two genres — comics and memoir — to illustrate a lush and intimate story about a daughter trying to understand her father through the common and unspoken bond of their homosexuality.
Arlington Reads attendees (virtual and in-person) will have the chance to win a free pair of tickets, courtesy of Studio Theatre, to attend a live performance of the musical adaptation of Fun Home later this year.
Jerry Craft – Thursday, April 27, 6-8 p.m.
Library Division Chief Peter Petruski will interview Jerry Craft and discuss his graphic novel “New Kid” which tells the story of a young black child who tries to fit in at a new private school that is lacking in diversity. Craft’s heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale is a coming-of-age story layered with race, class and the quest for self-identity.
Gene Luen Yang – Thursday, May 4, 6-8 p.m.
Librarian Jennifer Santure will interview Gene Luen Yang. Yang takes on prejudices toward Asian Americans in his action-packed, modern fable “American Born Chinese,” which tells the story of Jin Wang who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he is the only Chinese-American student at his new school. “American Born Chinese" was adapted into a Disney+ show, scheduled for release this year.
"Get Graphic" continues in September as it invites audiences to better understand the horrors of the Holocaust and survival.
Art Spiegelman – Thursday, Sep. 21, 2023
In “Maus,” world-renowned illustrator and graphic novelist Art Spiegelman interviews his father about his chilling experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor drawing Jews as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats. Spiegelman blends the stories of the author's trying relationship with his aging father and a horrifying tale of Auschwitz, as seen through his father's eyes. An astonishing account of one of history's most unspeakable tragedies and a story of survival and the legacy of trauma.
Liana Finck – Thursday, Oct. 19 (canceled)
Liana Finck’s graphic novel "Let There Be Light" is both a work of biblical interpretation in comic book format and reimagines the world from a woman’s perspective. Finck retells the Book of Genesis starring a woman as God and proves that old stories can live forever, whether as ancient scripture or as a series of profound and enchanting cartoons looking for humanity.
For all programs, graphic novels will be available for purchase during the event, courtesy of One More Page Books. The conversation will be followed by an audience Q&A and book signing. The free events will be livestreamed and available as a recording for 30 days on Arlington County's YouTube channel; RSVP to receive the online link.
Since its inception in 2006, Arlington Reads has featured both national and international fiction and nonfiction authors and cultural icons, such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wendell Berry, Katherine Boo, Matthew Desmond, Anthony Doerr, Richard Ford, Roxane Gay, Colum McCann, Tim O’Brien, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Elizabeth Strout, Zadie Smith and Colson Whitehead.
Arlington Reads is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.
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703-228-0590 (o) / 571-970-8608 (c)
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