Human library brings unique perspectives to students

Human Library 2017

By Joe Thornton, reporter

UNIVERSITY CENTER – In affiliation with The Democracy Commitment, Delta College brought the Human Library to campus for a free event in Founder’s Hall from 11-2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Students gathered to learn from “books,” but these books were not tied to binding or stacked on shelves. They were real people who participated in the Human Library. These members were available for discussion to anyone interested and willing to listen to their life stories and experiences.

The books each had a wide variety of experiences ranging from being a comic book artist, to being transgender and having a Muslim faith. The purpose of this event was to give students a chance to learn from someone else’s experience and allow students to gain perspective on something that may not be entirely in their realm or to find comfort talking to a book with a common experience.

Delta Student Brenna Hayman says she appreciated the opportunity to hear from sexual assault survivors and expand her understanding on the issue.

“There has been a lot going on in the media lately about sexual assault, and I want to do everything I can to comprehend the issue. As a survivor myself, it helps to talk to other survivors and know that I don’t have to through this alone,” says Hayman.

Not only does Hayman feel she learned more from coming to this event, but she could also see her fellow students becoming more informed and gaining more perspective on issues.

“I enjoyed being able to sit next to people and and hear them ask questions to learn more about sexual assault and realize that it can happen to anyone, and to see people making that connection and trying to learn as well meant a lot to me,” says Hayman.

Hayman was able to learn about sexual assault from one of the books, Katherine Ranzenberger, who is a child sexual assault survivor and is currently attending graduate school to become a lobbyist for child sexual assault.

Ranzenberger is well-aware of how sensitive and uncomfortable the issue of child sexual assault is for most people, but that does not stop her from telling people all the details of her past.

“I have a story that many people have heard and many people, even if they’ve gone through it themselves, don’t feel comfortable sharing. I want to create a larger platform for this issue and let people know that they aren’t alone and that they don’t have to keep this secret,” says Ranzenberger.

Ranzenberger is glad to be a member of the Human Library and knows how important it is to give a face to the issue at hand.

“If you were reading this story in a book, it wouldn’t be the same for you. Hearing an experience from another person makes it so much realer and challenges you in a different way. You can’t ask a book a question and a book can’t ask you questions. You read a book from your perspective, but by having a conversation you get multiple different points of view,” says Ranzenberger.

As a book in the Human Library, Ranzenberger wants people to know that they are so much more than one experience in their life.

“When people leave today I want them to know that even though I went through something horrible, I’m still a person. I’m still a human, and going through this doesn’t make me any less of a human.

I hope when students leave they understand even more that every person is valuable regardless of what they’ve gone through and that every life is worth living. You never know what someone else is going through or what has made them who they are today, so always be respectful of your fellow human beings and try to learn from everyone around you,” says Ranzenberger.

Anyone that is interested in obtaining more information about the Human Library can go to to learn about their mission, upcoming events, or donate to their cause.

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