The Human Library

Thursday, September 19th

St. Francis Center


Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers. A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered. 

Human Library Catalog

Anne | Adopted

Growing up in Russia with a single mother, being abandoned, becoming an orphan then receiving a gift of a lifetime through adoption in America. This is my story of survival, loss and most importantly gain from the opportunity of international adoption. 

Brian | Autistic (Asperger’s Syndrome)
Since I was a perfectionist and had great grades at school, everyone assumed I was doing fine. Inside, I was full of anxiety and I was a nervous wreck -- every single day.

Dar | Beautiful Soul
I am not a schizophrenic. I have schizophrenia. Mental illness does not define me.


De’Sean & Tommy | Ever Progressing

For the past 10 years, De'Sean and Tommy would consider their relationship just like every other relationship with a twist.  From becoming fast friends to marriage within a 3 year span,  they have been through their fair share of happy memories, difficult challenges, painful  losses, and phenomenal triumphs.  No matter the obstacle,  they refuse to let life get them down, and together press onward as a beacon of light for each other and for those whom they come in contact with.  Whether it is serving the community through HIV/AIDS awareness, Spiritual Guidance, a helping hand, or a listening ear,  the couple have dedicated their lives to discovering new ways to fall in love with each other, while enjoying life and leaving an ever progressing, unmovable mark on the Community and hearts of those they meet.


Eddie | Police Officer

Born in Laos, Eddie and his family fled to Thailand as refugees because of the war. After living in refugee camps for 6 years, they relocated to Algona, Iowa. After high school, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps where his first duty station was Hawaii. He's also served in Frankfurt, Germany; Moscow, Russia; Bujumbura, Burundi; and Pretoria, South Africa. When he retired from the Military in February 2017, he had over 26 years of Military Service (including time in the Iowa National Guard). Eddie joined the Sioux City Police Department in August 2001, where he is currently assigned to the Youth Bureau and a School Resource Officer (SRO) at North Middle School.


Heidi | Recovering Drug Addict

I was slowly committing suicide - finding anyway to escape reality. By the grace of God, I am here today.


Jamie | Gay

I was raised by drug-addicted parents and spent time in foster care so I had to figure out how to be a good parent on my own. Every day I battle the past and confront the judments of a predominately white community, while I struggle to raise my children alone and give them a better life.

Jesse | Transgender Man

I am a man. My body said otherwise, but my mind and soul have always been male. I began my transition from female to male in early 2016, and while I still have a long way to go, I have comfortably settled into my identity as a man. Overall, my quality of life has improved, but navigating the world as a transgender person is not without its challenges.  

Jose & Teri | Addicted
Two people destroyed by meth addiction and saved by Grace.


Kevin | Police Office/Detective with the Sioux City Police DepartmentHave you ever had a question for a police officer but have never had an opportunity or the courage to ask?  This is your chance.  Please come visit, ask questions and prepare yourselves for unadulterated responses from one of Sioux City’s finest.

Lisa | Doula, Yoga Teacher, Cosmetologist, and Australian

As a recent refugee, communicating in English is very difficult. It can take years to gain the language skills and gain more acceptance in the community.

Mel | Vietname Veteran

Mother, Educator, Activist, Native American. Questions welcomed!

Michelle | Tattooed, Educated, and Judged

Just because I have tattoos doesn’t mean I am a criminal , or that I am uneducated.  Everyday I am judged on my looks, but when people get to know me they realize what a good heart I have and that I am passionate about helping people.

Mickey | Brown & Empowered

Early-onset Alzheimer's affects people under the age of 65 and accounts for up to 5 % of all people with Alzheimer's. This is my story of how this disease has affected my life and the life of my family.

Nettie | Odd One Out

I taught at Briar Cliff University for 37 years.  During my theatre career, I have acted in, directed or designed over 200 productions, both academic and professional.  I have also co-authored two books and numerous articles on rural and small town theatre. I am a life member of Congregation Beth Shalom. I have taught the  Hebrew language and Jewish History for the Hebrew School. Any questions, please ask!

Nicole S. | The Puncture Proof Cycle

Have you ever had trouble with your bike tire always being flat? You pedal through, exhausting yourself, to pump it up, only to have it go flat again. This is similar to living with abuse, but you can puncture proof your cycle.

Nicole W. | Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Fighting within my own mind to not let my worries run my life. Anxiety is a managable mental health diagnosis.

Rhonda | Life Lessons

Making mistakes can be a good thing. You learn from them and move on. FIND YOUR PASSION! Most people have many jobs and then you find your heart.

Robyn | A Survivor’s Story
I believed him when he said, “I Love You.” But when he called me names and hit me, I thought this isn’t true love!

Rod | "The Iowa Beef" Iowa's First African American IFBB Professional Bodybuilder

Coming from a state not known for physique champions I was told I would need to move to California or New York if I was ever going to reach the goal of being a professional bodybuilder.

Ron | Perpetual Cycle of Violence

A seemingly, unbreakable cycle of violence grips many inner cities in the U.S. The seriousness of which is not known or even acknowledged until you or someone you love is personally affected.

Ryan | Genderqueer Pastor

I'm a follower of Jesus, a contemplative activist, a spiritual guide--and I'm queer. Neither a man nor a woman, my gender identity lies outside the binary.

Ryan & Mimi | Little Coup

This book gives a broad overview about Muslims and their faith, history, and contributions to the world and to the United States from the lens of an African American man. It is both universal and deeply personal.

Shelli | Federal Inmate Number 13745-029

Hello - my name is Shelli and I was sentenced to 4 and half years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute meth. Growing up I wanted to do only 2 things and do them with all my heart, make a difference in the world and be an amazing mom. Never did I imagine I would end up in federal prison. However, this is not the beginning of my story or even close to the end! 

Stephanie A. | To Hell and Back

How a foster mom, human services professional, dog show judge fell into the depths of addiction, went to prison, only to come back , find recovery, and work as an inpatient substance abuse therapist helping women find recovery for themselves. 

Stephanie B. | Drug Addict

I have been clean for 6 years, I am a single mom of 2 boys, survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence.  Let me share my experience, strength and hope with you.

Vicky | Stuck Living Between 2 Worlds

I do not view transgender as being a challenge but rather as being who I really am.