Human Library provides unique opportunity for encounter

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in collaboration with FAB! (Family Based Care for Children in Migration) organized a Human Library. The event was held on the 9 December in the very heart of the Maltese capital, Valletta.

The Human Library was organized to provide the public with a unique opportunity to meet and converse with refugees, asylum seekers and professional who work with them. The Human Library held in Valletta, possibly one of the very first events of its kind on the island, saw the participation of ten ‘books’ – six refugees and four professional who work with them.

The Human Library took the form of an open event and saw the participation of quite a large number of people from the public, from all backgrounds and walks of life. Those who attended were presented with leaflets about the project being carried out by FAB! and had the opportunity to ask members of JRS on its working in the migration sector in Malta.

Human Libraries started as a simple concept where instead of walking into a library to read a book, you read a person. You borrow a person for a short time, just to get a glimpse of a reality that is different from ours.

Every ‘book’ sat with no more than three people at one go. JRS wanted to keep this as intimate as possible. The idea is to have a safe space, where both the participants and those telling their stories, feel comfortable.

Each encounter took more or less 20 minutes. Members of the public were free to ask questions or revisit a ‘book’ that they had already visited, later on.

Following the success of this event, JRS hopes it can organize another Human Library event in the near future.