Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Human Library returns to Southeast to continue goal of diversity

Friday, November 17, 2017
Photo by Peter Lewis

For the second year in a row, The Human Library at Kent Library provided students an opportunity to interact with fellow students on a wide range of topics.

Started in 2000 in Denmark, the Human Library project allows volunteers to play the role of a book with a specific story that visitors can interact with to learn more about their story and ask questions as well as conversing with them

Like last year, 11 books were available to check out for students. Topics ranged from religion, culture, personal experience and more.

Photo by Peter Lewis

Rane Belling, a graduate assistant of LBGTQ+ Education at Southeast, presented their book, “Fitting Out.”

Their story shared their experience growing up and living with the pressure society puts on transgender and non-binary individuals.

“It’s my personal believe that these conversations are the only way we truly ever understand each other and get to some sort of peaceful world of some sorts," Belling said.

Photo by Peter Lewis

Belling believed that having these conversations with each other and understanding one another’s identities and how they impact each other is an important conversation to have.

Joseph Taylor, a middle school science major at Southeast, brought the Human Library to Southeast after seeing a version of it held at the University of North Texas.

“[The goal is] to facilitate a better understanding amongst students, I know there’s a lot of people here you pass on the street and you never really know what’s going on with their life or story," Taylor said.

Photo by Peter Lewis

Like last year’s event, the goal of the event was to promote diversity on campus.

Taylor added, “I hope ( this event) will really connect the students to one another on a more personal level and hit home the idea that everyone has a story.”

Taylor said they find students to volunteer via social media and offer them a registration form to come and share their story.

Taylor first contacted Peyton Mogley, SGA president, to get the Human Library started at Southeast.

“She’s the woman to go to for sure if you want to get anything done on campus,” Taylor said.

Mogley and Taylor went on to register with the Human Library Project, then went to Barbara Glackin, dean of Kent Library, to start the process of getting the Human Library started.

Mogley’s interest in the Human Library was it’s interactivity in teaching.

“Because of how we continue to pitch the word diversity and show that we are and inclusive campus focused on global citizenship, any opportunity to have students talk about their experience," she said.

Mogley also stated the interesting idea of the Human Library allows a valuable tool for communication.

“Whether that’s culture or something that happened to them personally, it’s an opportunity to share who they are with someone else, and maybe improve someone's life through that experience, cause they’re able to relate and not relate, just ask questions, and I think that’s powerful, here especially, that be incredibly helpful for SEMO," Mogley said.

Taylor said the goal is to bring the Human Library back next year, as well as make it a key component of Kent Library’s offerings to the campus.

For more information on the Human Library Project, visit