The Trinity College Library Council held their first ever Human Library on the 4th of October 2018. The Human Library is a concept where the ‘books’ are people who have experience in various subjects or professions, and they are ‘borrowed’ by ‘readers’ who can ask any question they like. This is to both learn new information and to learn about the person.
The event started at 2:30 pm with a speech from the Chief Curator. In his speech, he explained why the library council organized the ‘Human Library’. He said:
“The reason why we chose this particular moment in time is to celebrate the month of reading, as well as our Library Day. Reading is, unfortunately, a dying habit amongst those living in the 21st century, and it is our duty as members of our own library community to ensure that here, at least, that does not happen. We have seen increased numbers of readers since beginning these workshops and events in this Library, and we hope that it continues to increase in the future.”
This was followed by a speech from the Vice-Principal, after which the “books” were introduced:
Mr Sanka Hettiarachchi, an expert on Artificial Intelligence.
Dr Kanishka Ukuwela, an expert in biology.
Dr V. Seneviratne, a chemist.
Mr F. Immamudeen, an expert on public speaking.
Mr N. Dhammasena, an explorer and doctor.
Mr K. Jayasena, a sports expert.
The different experts were placed in different parts of the library and the students could choose to visit the expert whose topic they were interested in. They participated enthusiastically in discussions with experts. With this unique format, the students were able to ask questions pertaining to their specific interests and have them answered fully and completely.
Following is a comment made by one of the experts who participated at the event:
“I had the great pleasure of being a human book on “Artificial Intelligence” at the first ever Human Library Project in Kandy, at the Trinity College Library on the 4th of October 2018. Together with me were human books on Biology, Public Speaking, Adventure, Chemistry and Sports, proudly represented by four other distinguished guests; Dr. Kanishka Ukuwela, Mr. Farweez Imamudeen, Dr. Nishan Dharmasena, Dr. V. Senevirarne and Mr. Kavinda Jayasena.
The library had been transformed into six sections where the human books shared our knowledge and experience in our respective fields. The students met us in groups and freely asked away questions to their hearts content. As the human book on Artificial Intelligence (AI), I had received many questions on the current state of AI, what the future holds for humans in an AI rich world and the career prospects when they enter the workforce.
What took me by surprise was the enthusiasm of the teachers who took part in this experience. They were very keen to know how their students’ lives would be enhanced and affected by AI and what would make their students stand ahead when competing with AI applications head-to-head in the future. There were a select few who remained seated in my section throughout the program, wide-eyed and overflowing with enthusiasm, asking deeper and deeper questions during each round of the discussion, wanting to extract the maximum they could from this human AI book that stood in front of them.
I praise the college Librarian Mrs. Achala Illangakoon and her staff for initiating this project and hope this would be a regular event at the college library. I hope and pray that the future programs could be opened to the rest of the students in and around Kandy, so that Trinity College could lead by example in initiating this unique eye-opening experience to everyone.”
– Sanka Hettiarachchi (Founder and CEO, Providev)
Trinity College Class of 2000
To conclude the event Mr Sanka Hettiarachchi gave a speech on behalf of the experts, in which he commended the enthusiasm of the students who participated, and strongly recommended that the Human Library be made a continuing event. He also stated how much he enjoyed answering the interesting questions posed to him by the teachers and students who attended the “Human Library.” The Library Council is grateful to the experts, the librarian and staff, and all the visitors who helped make the first human library a success.
Trinity College Library Council
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