WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State-West Plains campus has officially launched a program called The Human Library Project to help people with different backgrounds come together and share their stories and perspectives on life.
Dean of Student Services Dr. Angela Totty told The Heartlander that she saw the idea on a Denmark Facebook page and says that the country holds ‘Human Libraries’ on a regular basis. Totty thought the idea was a great model for MSU-West Plains and began organizing.
The university brought in storytellers from the West Plains area and assigned groups of people to each individual storyteller to share and hear others’ life experiences. According to Totty, things started off a little “clunky” by assigning several people to one individual and they plan to incorporate a one-on-one model for the next project, which is planned for Spring of 2022. At the next event, attendees will be able to “check out” a human of their choice to hear their story.
To make things less complicated, each storyteller was given the following genres to choose from when discussing their personal experiences.
- Childhood Stories
- Mystery (an unexpected event that happened and changed their life long-term.)
- Current Events
The fall event included members from the community, MSU-WP students and international foreign exchange students from West Plains High School. Some college professors also brought their entire classes to attend the first Human Library Project.
“‘It was a very rich experience,’ is how I would describe it. It was a very well attended event as far as people coming to listen,” said Totty. “We want to see those opportunities in our community grow and be able to provide connections within the community with our campus. The more that we can do that, the more our students feel comfortable in the West Plains area and want to stay and continue their education here. We’ve been trying to make some strategic moves.”
For more information on the Human Library Project, individuals can visit their website at HumanLibrary.org.