An innovative “human library” and a five-kilometer race/walk are among the highlights of the upcoming Diversity Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 12 at Ohio University-Chillicothe.
Music, food, crafts and children’s art creations will be among other activities during the event, which will be held in the parking lot outside of the Shoemaker Center. The fest will be held inside of the center in the event of inclement weather. Admission is free, and the public is invited. Local radio personality Dan Ramey will serve as the emcee.
The human library concept captures the spirit of the event, which focuses on a celebration of diversity and learning from other people’s experiences and viewpoints. Interested individuals can “check out” a particpating volunteer for a 30-minute conversation from noon until 2 p.m.
These are definitely books whose stories cannot be fully told by their colorful covers. For example, among the human library selections is a faculty member with the title “Single but not alone world traveler and dedicated bilingual traveler,” staff members with the titles of “Brutally honest but not so southern belle from northeast Ohio” and “Appalachian gay from blue collar to white collar.” Among student selections are “Sweet caramel blind hard-working college student” and “I can’t even pass for normal.”
“This is a concept that began in Denmark, and this is the first time it will be held in Ohio,” said OU-C Library Director Allan Pollchik, an organizer of the event. “It allows for individuals to see life through another person’s eyes and to gain a new perspective on their own lives. You can find a person with an interesting background and learn from that person’s experiences. The emphasis is on mutual respect.” Or, patrons can check out a community member under the heading “Melungeon world-champion weight-lifter and hunter.”
This will be the second year of the 5-K run/walk for diversity and against bullying, which will begin and end near the Shoemaker Center. Registration is available day of the race or in advance. Race registration and information about the Diversity Fest is available online at https://commerce.cashnet.com/ohiodiversityrun
Event sponsors are the Salon Series at Quinn Library and the Stray Cats student organization.