After last year’s successful event in Providence, the East Bay gets a chance to talk to living books

BRISTOL, RI -– An eclectic and thought-provoking collection of more than 50 “Human Books” will provide the East Bay with a unique reading experience at Roger Williams University on Sunday, March 30th. The first statewide Human Library event took place at Rochambeau Library in 2013; now a larger consortium of Rhode Island libraries and sponsoring organizations has produced another highly original and perhaps life-changing library experience for the people of Rhode Island.

Modeled on a traditional library, a human library consists of “human books,” real people who have volunteered to tell their personal stories and to answer questions about life experiences. Readers are invited to browse a catalog and check out a book for a 15-minute, one-on-one conversation, during which they can learn about their subject and ask questions in a safe, respectful setting.

Recalling the old adage, "Never Judge a Book by its Cover," human libraries strive to promote understanding by allowing people to test the truth behind preconceptions. Human books are people with powerful stories to tell and all have experienced prejudice and disadvantage in their lives.  Examples of book titles available in Bristol are Face of Homelessness, Refugee, Becoming Blind, Ex-Felon, Childless by Choice, Capeverdean American Woman, and Living on the Hyphen of Being Iranian-American. Go to and click on “The Human Books” tab to read full catalog entries (check back frequently for updates).

“We’ve received great support from public and academic libraries in Providence and all around the East Bay, as well as  generous sponsorship from Library Friends’ groups, community organizations and businesses“ said  Joyce May, Adult Services Librarian at Weaver Library and Co-Chair of HLRI 2014.  “A human library is memorable experience and a powerful learning tool. We’re expecting visitors, not only from the East Bay but from all over the state” she added.

HLRI 2014 will take place on Sunday, March 30, 2014, at the Global Heritage Hall, Roger Williams University, One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI from 1:00pm -5:00pm.  The program is free and open to all.  For more information, visit, and follow @HumanLibRI on Twitter. 

HLRI 2014 is a collaboration of the following public libraries and their Friends’ groups: Providence Community Library (PCL); Weaver Library, East Providence; Providence Public Library; Rogers Free Library, Bristol; Barrington Public Library; Newport Public Library; George Hail Free Library, Warren. Academic libraries: University Library at Roger Williams University (RWU); Phillips Memorial Library, Providence College; Salve Regina University’s McKillop Library.  Other partners and sponsors: Welcoming Rhode Island; GrantSpire Consulting LLC; People’s Credit Union; Saccoccio & Associates, Architects; Rotary Club of Newport; Panera Bread; Whole Foods Market,Waterman Street and New Harvest Coffee Roasters.

Janet Kovach-Fuentes, Principal of GrantSpire Consulting LLC, and Joyce May, Adult Services Librarian at the East Providence Public Library, Co-Chairs of HLRI 2014, served previously on the planning committee of the Providence event that took place on March 3rd, 2013.

HLRI 2014 is part of a worldwide project that began in Denmark in 2000. Since then, human libraries have been held in over 60 countries.  See for more information.