Introduction to Business: Human Library

Small group with Lisa D’Souza

Who can be a Human Library Book?

Are you interested in being part of this inspirational movement? We’re looking for individuals that have experienced intolerance, oppression, or hardship and are willing to share their story of resilience with first year students in a positive and engaging manner. Community members, as well as faculty, staff, and students at UF are invited to serve as Books in the Human Library. A list of suggested topics is available below, but we are open to hearing stories from anyone – all experiences are valuable and we appreciate your willingness to share.

Select a genre that best fits the story or stories you’d like to share. You can choose one from the list below or add your own to the application!

  • Adopted
  • Alcoholic
  • Bullying (victim or bully)
  • Cancer survivor
  • Child Abuse
  • College dropout
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Disabled
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug addiction
  • Elderly
  • English as a Second Language
  • Feminist
  • First Generation Student
  • Former gang member
  • From a large family
  • Gun rights activist
  • Homeless (past or present)
  • Immigrant
  • International student
  • Mental Illness
  • Obesity
  • Political (Democrat, Republican, etc.)
  • PTSD
  • Rape Survivor
  • Religious (Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, etc.)
  • Sexual Assault victim
  • Single Parent
  • Stay at home mom/dad
  • Student athlete
  • Students of color
  • Transfer student
  • Undocumented citizen
  • Vegan
  • Veteran
College Dropout: Defying the Odds

I’m the non-assuming type. I like to blend in to the scenery. But I also carry quite a story about with me. There are not many people who can claim to be an ‘Erin Brockovich’ and mean it. I was the lead trial paralegal who lead a team of 12 to claim the largest singular verdict against tobacco at $12.8 million (compensatory) and $23.6 Billion in punitive damages in July 2014. How does one defy the odds with no formal education to validate their skill set? As a single mother of three and a cancer survivor, I’ve done it and although there is nothing I would like more than to have my formal education completed, there is a way for us all to open doors that are otherwise closed to us.

Obesity: My Skin Is In!

Big Man, Biggie, Big Dawg, and More, these are just a few of the titles forced on me over time. Having been born as a big baby, growing up as a big kid, and now living life as a bigger individual, I have had my share of jokes made about me, but the best part is that I have grown to love who I am. As someone who went from being big and told I wouldn’t be a success to being an internationally ranked athlete, professional public speaker, and now a college educated professional, the skin I am in has supported be and made me stronger. Being someone in society seen as obese is a label, but is not my life.

Domestic Violence: An Injury a Smile Cannot Hide

After witnessing two women in my family endure years of domestic violence, I always told myself “don’t you ever tolerate that type of behavior. Never allow anyone to hit you.” However, little did I know, intimate partner violence (domestic violence) does not always begin and end with physical abuse. As a first generation college student, I made the mistake of getting involved in a relationship that was way too serious during my junior year. The man I adored emotionally abused me, and made the ultimate betrayal of thinking physical abuse was permissible. I suffered a serious injury that I still carry around to this day. An injury that my smile cannot takeaway. However, 10 years later I am proud to say “I am a survivor.” Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence) is never okay.

Raised Christian & Queer: Un-Washing My Queer Brain

In my childhood, I learned there was something wrong with me. I was different, impure, in need of a cure. I did everything they said I should do. I prayed, asked God to cleanse me, to change me. But every morning, I still woke up with a very real, super huge crush on a girl in my class. This book is about my journey to self-acceptance.

Refugee: From Bombs to Books

In 1993, my home country was torn apart by grenades. Children, mothers, and fathers killed because of our Bosnian ethnicity and Muslim faith. In 1999, my family came to the United States as refugees and we became part of the “American Dream.” Today, we lead the “average” middle-class American lifestyle. This is the story of how and why refugees are no different from you and I.

Outlier: Life: An Unexpected Journey

Life can bring a bounty of challenges to those who thrive in predictable, almost boring, situations, such as myself. As a child growing up in a small town in Hawaii, I never would have anticipated I would be living most of my adult life in Gainesville and that being an administrator at the University of Florida would be my career. By embracing change and surprises (both pleasant and unpleasant), one can manage, if not conquer, the unknown. Being an outlier both helps and hurts me at any given time. It has opened and closed doors for me, but is directly tied to where I am today. My journey is far from over, and I am excited to see where my path takes me next.

The Magic in Being Black and Queer

What a wonderful sense of responsibility to be a self-identified magical black queer person! Magic allows for the perceived ability of the mind to affect the physical world. Being black, queer and a woman brings its own set of complexity in different settings. The magic is in the dichotomy of these identities which allows for dialogues with a variety of people to effect change. Often times, I am forced to choose one of my identities or suppress one of my identities to make others feel comfortable, which makes it difficult to show up as my true authentic self. Being able to discover who I am and embracing all of my identities has led to this story. This book tells the journey of providing a sense of pride in myself and other black queer people. This story is about the intersections of being black, queer and a woman.

Black Man: Mistaken Identity

It was a Friday night. It became that Friday night. One that I wish was hard to remember. One that I wish was easier to forget. I was a bright-eyed and rather naive young college freshman student. What I thought would be just another trip to our campus library evolved into no ordinary trip at all. Rather it was my first night of being a victim of mistaken identity. There I was, hands upright against a cold brick wall. The stranger palms of authorities patted down the length of my upper and lower body. My current plan and previous whereabouts were intensely questioned by authorities. Then I was told I resembled the description of a suspect that recently committed a local crime. Although it was not me, but why did I still feel as if I had been arrested.

Next Steps

  1. RSVP to attend an Orientation Session: Tuesday, Jan 10th or Wednesday, Jan 11th, 6pm Heavener Hall, Room 210
  2. After attending your Book Drive, please complete your Book Proposal.


  1. Books are required to serve for at least two hours at this event, which allows for two sessions with first-year students.
  2. Draft a synopsis of your story before the event, and be willing to elaborate on it and answer questions from first-year students at the event.
  3. Be able to encourage open-minded and positive dialogue with and between students.
  4. Attend one mandatory orientation to review expectations and learning outcomes for the Human Library Project.
  5. Provide feedback after the event in a timely manner.
  6. Books are highly encouraged to serve at a minimum of two Human Library Events.