Bringing Communities Together

What is Human Libraries Australia

Connecting communities conversation by conversation

Human Libraries Australia is a national strategy for connecting and strengthening local communities through conversation. Members of the public are able to borrow a living person for a conversation rather than borrowing a book.

Through conversation, communities are brought closer together, attitudes changed, prejudice and fear reduced, and social inclusion is strengthened. It is a simple yet powerful strategy for building social cohesion between diverse community members who wouldn't ordinarily meet.

History of the project

The project, initially known as Living Libraries Australia, was initiated by the Lismore City Council in November 2006 and was proudly supported by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship until September 2010.

The Living Library concept was first developed in 2000 by the Danish non-government youth organisation, Stop the violence. The idea has since spread around the world to more than 45 countries and is coordinated by the international Human Library organisation based in Denmark.

In October 2010, the name of the project was changed from Living Libraries Australia to Human Libraries Australia in response to a name change by the international organisation.

The program is now managed by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) through its Public Libraries Advisory Committee (PLAC) and the PLAC Human Libraries Australia Sub-Committee.

Read more about the history of this project in the About us section.

Read past news about the project.


Human Libraries Australia promotes and supports the establishment of Human Library projects to communities across Australia by providing:

Message from our patron, Noni Hazlehurst AM

"The Human Library concept is nothing less than a stroke of genius. As soon as I read about it, I knew it was a winner. You truly cannot understand or criticise someone until you walk a mile in their shoes - and to do that you have to meet them and talk to them. In all the media exhortations to be different, we've forgotten that our strengths as people lie in our similarities. We all share the need for love, acceptance and understanding, and we all have a story worth telling and worth hearing. Our communications revolution has done much to break down community life and little to promote neighbourhood interaction. Human Libraries are a wonderful way to bring people together in fellowship and in celebration of the human spirit. They encourage the kind of communication revolution we desperately need, and the possibilities for friendship and enrichment are endless. I can think of no demographic or age group that wouldn't benefit from borrowing from the Human Library. I heartily endorse the project and applaud everyone involved."

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