The Human Library: Lessons in Compassion

This is a fascinating post from a fellow Fulbright teacher’s blog. I am intrigued by the “Human Library” concept – how would that go over in the US? I am also reflecting on the ex-prisoner’s experiences in relation to the recent thoughts I have been having about my students involved in the juvenile justice system here at home.

mikä estää?

When I imagined my time in Finland, I could have never guessed that one of the most memorable and thought provoking conversations that I would have would be with a former convict during lunch at Myllypuron middle school just outside of Helsinki in Vantaa.

I was invited by a fellow Fulbright teacher from Finland to observe the school’s “Human Library” day for 9th grade students. The concept of the Human Library originated in Denmark in 2000 at the annual Roskilde music festival. Young people had been active in a group called “Stop the Violence” and expanded the theme at the festival. Rock festivals are microcosms of society in many ways. There are people coming together from a variety of backgrounds that may not normally interact in other parts of society. At the festival they had 75 “human books” available, each book representing that individual’s experiences. It is reported that…

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