What is the Human Library?
The Human Library brings people together who don't normally meet in day-to-day life. It is also an opportunity to have real conversations with real people. Individuals with diverse life experiences act as human books, which readers “check out” to learn from and connect with on a personal level. Their stories range from loss and grief to advocacy and identity.
How It Works
Readers can come any time during the event
- Browse the list of titles, select a human book.
- Check out the book at the registration table.
- Have a one-on-one conversation with that book. Conversations can be up to 30 minutes long.
Reserve a Book
Want to make sure a human book is available? Book reservations will be available soon - check back on April 6, 2018 for the link.
2018 Human Library Books
Amber Barcel | Adoptee
Amber was adopted from Suwon, South Korea, joining her family in Bellwood, NE when she was three months old. In adulthood, she went on a journey of self-discovery here in Omaha and in South Korea. In the process she has learned more about what it means to her to be an adoptee and an Asian-American woman living in Omaha. Amber tells her story so others can learn about what it’s like to be adopted, and what it’s like to go back.
Randy Beagley | Ex-FLDS Member
Randy found out that his family was part of the largest fundamentalist polygamist religion in North America (FLDS) when he was nine years old. Curiosity and independent thinking were never encouraged within the religion. Randy embraced these qualities while growing up, though, which enabled him to escape and help others leave as well. Randy shares his story because he knows that many people might possess hidden stories like him, and sometimes those people might need a helping hand.
Kat Clyde | Air Force Veteran
A ten-year veteran of the Air Force, Kat was sexually assaulted while she was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is sharing her stories of sexism and sexual assault in the military because, frankly, her story is not unique. Kat’s story, like many others, is of a woman veteran with PTSD from a trauma suffered not on the battlefield of war, but at her home station.
Anna Di Ruocco & Leo | Service Dog Handler
Wendy Hamilton | Disability Rights Activist
Wendy’s mother was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at 58 years old in 2007. While autism spectrum disorders aren’t entirely uncommon, adult diagnosis is less common. In fact, the perspective of a neuro-typical child and autistic parent is still incredibly unique. Wendy and Moppy are spreading their story with humor, love, and taking things day by day.
Peggy Jones | Artist and Scholar
Peggy grew up in an almost-rural environment near Omaha and is currently a professor and administrator at UNO. Peggy mentors others in leadership in and out of the classroom and is proud to coach for the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Her most recent play, Centering the Margins, was presented at the Union for Contemporary Art as a part of the 365 Women a Year project. Peggy wants to create relationships at the Human Library to talk about her paradoxical and intersectional life as a Black creative woman in majority White environments, and what it means to be a Black artist, playwright, and academic in the Midwest.
Miles Jordan | Self-titled
After being adopted internationally into a world where nobody looked like them or spoke the language they knew, Miles realized from a young age that “fitting in” would never come easy. Labeled as black, multi-ethnic, depressed, transgender, and queer, Miles learned to be proud of who they are and to create their own definitions for these words. This is the story of someone who has overcome many struggles by remembering that it doesn’t matter what others call us, only what we answer to.
Wendy Kaiser | Bereaved Parent
Wendy experienced the death of her child when she was a young parent. Wendy is stepping forward now to share her experiences as a young mother coping with grief and as a person with mental illness. Most importantly, she wants to share that there can be and will be beautiful moments of joy, appreciation, happiness, and light in the midst of some of the darkest times in life.
Cindy Krafka | Native American Artist
Cindy is a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe, a talented bead artist, and the Native American Outreach Coordinator at UNO. Cindy grew up urban and spent her summers finding her culture and spirituality on the Rosebud Reservation just north of the Nebraska border. She is motivated to share her stories to dispel stereotypical notions of Native culture and wants others to understand that Native American people are educated, creative, and far more complex than the stereotypes presented in movies, TV, and online today.
Dominique Morgan | Advocate
Charlie Rabideaux | Educator
Eli Rigatuso | Two-spirit TransmanEli has been coming out in layers throughout his life. Three years ago, at the age of 49, Eli came out as transgender. Born and raised in Omaha, he has always been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Eli wants trans youth, especially, to know it’s okay for people to choose to be who they are at any time in their lives. He invites others to hear his story and find out what it’s like to face unique challenges in a binary world.
Ashlei Spivey | Activist
Ashlei spoke in front of thousands at the last Women’s March and works to support organizations to create social change. She creates spaces and connections, like the Young Black & Influential Awards, to create more diverse and equitable landscapes for people and organizations in Omaha. In helping to facilitate these connections and uplift communities of color, Ashlei hopes to show that there isn’t one single definition of leadership and success for people of color.
Jenna Yentes | Scientist
Going from being a first generation college student to a PhD, Jenna’s life has been anything but linear. From community college, massage therapy school, to a university in Colorado, and countless jobs, there wasn’t one single path she took. Now Jenna is a woman in a STEM field, which has its own set of challenges and rewards. Most people think about life as linear with a plan, and Jenna has proven with perseverance and flexibility, a non-linear life can take you places you’d never imagine.
For more information about including events and announcements in the Criss Library News Center, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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