The Trinity River Campus library has always been a second home to me during my time at Tarrant County College. Yet, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d become an open book, or be able to ask questions of another open book. Books don’t talk…or do they?
Seeing the advertisements across campus and online, I had no idea I’d become a human book in celebration of National Library Week. I didn’t have many expectations when I walked into the experience. But by the time I was finished, I had told a story mixed with emotions that no one would have known after holding a general conversation or by just looking at me.
Sudden moments of realization, inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension might not be the first emotions a library evokes. In becoming a book, I was able to select a topic in which I could engage my own listeners, and have them both listen AND interact. Several minutes into my first reader hearing my story, I became slightly emotional after I discussed the day I lost my father at age 5.
Other students and staff members also volunteered to tell personal stories of struggle, survival, inspiration and success during 15-minute intervals with readers. Readers were able to select from several categories, such as surviving family violence or dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one, paired with open book volunteers who then told stories related to the topic.
“It’s important sometimes for us to get out of the library’s four walls. When you do something like this, it benefits both the readers, and our open books. It could even be called a type of therapy” said Danelle Toups, assistant director of library services at Trinity River Campus. “It’s better than just reading when you can actually engage with one another.”
She said a total of 42 readers checked out the nine volunteer books during the two-hour.
When it came time for me to select a book, I chose the topic of surviving family violence after reviewing the varied topics. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I figured it would be interesting, and inspiring.
My selection of Trinity River student Andaiya Reynolds allowed me to learn that she wanted to openly share her story of surviving family violence so she could aid others who might be in similar situations.
“Growing up, I attempted to be the best daughter I could be to my mother and it wasn’t good enough. I endured years of mental, verbal and physical abuse,” Reynolds said. “By becoming an open book, I hope one person that has heard my story can use it if not to help themselves, but someone else; or even better become more of an open book themselves.”