10 December 2022

Human libraries give a short insight into the lives of someone you might not ordinarily meet in your day-to-day life.

Image: A young girl wears a blue top and blue headphones, listening to a device.

Stories and storytelling are age-old. Stories teach, challenge, and connect us. For all of history, human connections have been built through storytelling. In fact, stories have been used to pass down knowledge and ideas for thousands of generations. We know that through the sharing and hearing of stories, lives can be changed.

Human libraries let you borrow people instead of books for a short insight into the lives of someone you might not ordinarily meet in your day-to-day life. These people are – as we all are – well worth listening to. Like a regular library, each “book” will have a book jacket and description to support the “reader” in selecting a book to check out.

Life Without Barriers Human Library Collection

The Life Without Barriers Human Library Podcast Project showcases the community of Life Without Barriers as ‘human books’ of the library and shares stories through individual podcast episodes in the Human Library Collection. You can find the full Human Library Collection here.

Book 1 - Tess Rowley

The first human book in the library is from author Tess Rowley. Tess chats with us about her childhood experiences with stories and writing and how her work has influenced her writing and storytelling over many years.

Listen to her story here.

Book 2 - Jacintha Batchelor

The second human book in the library is from Jacintha Batchelor, a long-term, committed foster carer of many children and young people. Jacintha shares her insights into what story and storytelling means to her and how these experiences have influenced her as a mother.

Listen to her story here.

Book 3 - James Fewtrell

The third human book in the library is from James Fewtrell, the Manager of Internal Communications at Life Without Barriers. James shares how the simple, yet often 'unspoken' act of saying thank you impacts the relationships we have, and the way he lives with an 'attitude of gratitude'.

Listen to his story here.

Book 4 - Donna Mincham

The fourth human book in the library is from Donna Mincham, Life Without Barriers Education Consultant in North Queensland. Donna shares her unique and firsthand experiences of working with children and young people at the margins of education, and how this led her to follow her passion for supporting some of the most marginalised young people in Australia.

Listen to her story here.

Book 5 - Chloe Blake

The fifth human book in the library is from Chloe Blake, an author and experienced Executive and Professional Coach. Chloe shares her experience writing her book, 'A Girl’s Guide to Starting High School', and how it can help girls build and maintain confidence in their transition from primary to high school.

Listen to her story here.

Collecting stories at the International Foster Care Organisation Conference

The lands of the Larrakia People provided a beautiful background for the IFCO Conference 2022, where the Hook into Books Campaign was privileged enough to yarn with delegates – children, young people, carers, and professionals for the Human Library Podcast series.

This special edition of the Human Library Podcast Series shares stories that reflect the IFCO Conference theme, “Finding Ways Forward: Celebrating Identity, Culture, Families and Community".

Each episode of this podcast was recorded in the very busy exhibition space of the conference. So, don’t be disturbed by the background sounds of people yarning, little kids giggling, a ball bouncing or the sound of knives and forks rattling at lunch – these sounds further add to the picture of our human library and the stories of the people who feature in each of our books.

Follow the links below to listen to stories from young people in care, foster carers and professionals.

A big thank you goes out to all the people featured in our library. Thanks for sharing your stories and being so generous of spirit to sit with us during the conference.

A narrative of resilience

This is a special podcast created for a group of primary school children who 'Hooked into Books' with us as part of the Communities for Children Project with Anglicare Victoria at Packenham Hills Primary in Victoria.

Each episode features Education Consultant and Hook into Books facilitator Emma Meale as she reads selected books from the Traveling Book Suitcase. Each story centres on tales of resilience and hope.

These books were shared during the Hook into Books sessions in 2022 and can now be re-enjoyed at home, school or in the car by visiting the Hook into Books - A narrative of resilience podcast playlist.

Thank you to all the amazing authors and illustrators who have provided such wonderfully inspiring content to make our suitcase so rich and diverse.

We want to hear and share stories of Storytelling!

What does storytelling mean to you?

The Life Without Barriers Human Library Project acknowledges the diverse life experiences and wealth of knowledge that make up the rich tapestry of our community.

To celebrate Hook into Books, the first collection of the Life Without Barriers Human Library will focus on 'Storytelling and what it means to you?'

How to get involved:

  • Each story is recorded using Zoom – and transferred into an audio-only file (no video). We use the audio to create a short podcast episode (book) in the Human Library.

  • The Library can be accessed at the Hook into Books webpage.

  • For more information and to share a story with our Human Library, contact Megan Hall, Education and Learning Projects Lead, via email at megan.hall@lwb.org.au.

Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

Hook Into Books™!

Supporting Children and Young People to build bright futures through education and learning “Everyday Everyway”.

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