University of Stirling celebrates World Book Day with launch of Human Library programme

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Photo caption: Staff and students from the University of Stirling launch the Human Library programme at the University’s library. L-R: Students Yohann Agblami and Riyad Moustache; Emma McCombie; student Frances Philippou Bell.

The University of Stirling is marking World Book Day (Thursday 2 March), by launching a search for volunteers for a ‘human library’, in which readers borrow human beings as they would books.

The organisers are looking for staff, students and community members to train to become a ‘human book’ for a series of events designed to challenge prejudices in society.

The project, organised by the University of Stirling’s Collections, is a collaboration with The Human Library, an international movement that hosts personal conversations that challenge stigma and stereotypes.

The idea is that every human book represents a group in society that is often subjected to prejudice, stigmatisation or discrimination because of their lifestyle. In-person events will take place on Stirling’s campus, starting in September 2023, with people ‘borrowing’ a human book which will then encourage conversations that will break down preconceived ideas.

Emma McCombie, Deputy Head of University of Stirling Collections, said: “The Human Library’s aim is to encourage people to engage with the human books and ‘unjudge’. Every human book represents a group in our society that is often subjected to prejudice, stigmatization or discrimination because of their lifestyle, diagnosis, belief, disability, social status, ethnic origin and more.”

Emma added: “Volunteers will be given full training to help them engage with individuals about their experiences. The aim is that by having the one-to-one interaction between human book and borrower, participants address questions that may not have come up in a wider group setting.”
Among the human book subjects identified by the Human Library are: addiction, disabilities, ethnicity, family relations, gender, neurodiversity, religion and health. 
If you would like to become a human book for the University of Stirling’s Human Library events and have a personal experience to share that fits any of the above subjects, please contact 

For more information on the Human Library Organization visit