Human Library

Preserving history with an app that connects people together to share experiences.

Photo of Aidan Perales
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Technology

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


Help us stay in touch!

203-901-2536 Engineering and Science University Magnet School 500 Boston Post Road Connecticut: West Haven (06516)

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Many people are in school and have to research a class(es). They rely on textbooks and articles to provide them with information. The downside of these two is that they may not provide sufficient information. Not only that, but some projects or papers demand students to provide a primary source. If you go on Google and look up a primary source about September 11th, 2001, the possibilities are you will not be able to get access to that source.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Human Library is an innovative app that connects people from different origins together to tell their stories. People that wish to share their experiences can download the app and communicate with other people such as students or historical enthusiasts. People born in older periods of time want to tell their stories about the change they have experienced. Rather than learning history through the classroom, students will be able to second-handedly experience history through a personal anecdote from a citizen that has personally witnessed these events. When starting the app, it will ask the user if they want to tell a story or instead, listen to one. Then, when actively using the app, Human Library will pair those who want to listen to a story and those who want to tell a story. Afterward, when paired, both people will be given a location to meet up. These locations will be public and will include: libraries, coffee shops, and bookstores. If they wish to, the meet-up can be online via video chat.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

The reason we decided to start this project is because we want to connect people from different backgrounds and upbringings, so that they can share their stories and experiences. It’s a way to bring together people from different age groups, ethnicities, and nationalities. To make a personal connection, I love to sit back and listen to the stories that my grandfather tells about events that he experienced in the past. However, some people don’t have grandparents who can inform them about their experiences. It’s a great learning experience for people at a young age, and allows older people to remember things from the past.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

9/11 was a very tragic event. Many people passed away but some survived and haven’t really shared their story with others. The youth from the years 1997 to now don’t remember 9/11, and don’t know what people were experiencing during the horrific event and what the survivors from the towers had experienced. With the Human Library, survivors and witnesses can now share their experience with the world. The firefighters, the people who escaped the tower, and the people who witnessed the tragic event on TV can now share their experience with the world and now can. With the Human Library, they have the ability to share their experience with the youth of today. They all have different experiences and stories to share and now they can so that years from now their story still can exist.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The idea of a library that presents information in the form of people instead of books has been done before, but there were drawbacks to the current version, such as the library having a physical location and only accessible to those living nearby. Others have tried scheduled talks, which only work based on the availability of the student schedules. In addition, there is a limited number of talks per year, meaning that the information cannot be archived. Our version of the Human Library would take app form instead of one set location, meaning that the accessibility of it will grow larger.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We plan on making an impact on the future of education by helping preserve history. By having people from an earlier generation telling the youth about what had happened in their generation we can keep that history alive and not let it go extinct. It educates the youth of our society about the past for the better before all there are no more survivors remaining and no one left to share their experiences. We allow the other generations to educate what life was like in their generation. Our big impact is to not let important history fade away as time goes on.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

For future development of our application, we can include tutoring and advice sessions taught by experienced workers. With the tutoring option being in development, we can offer this to students so that they can learn how to do something or what happened, they will get higher grades as they utilize this option. These workers are from various fields of work including: healthcare, engineering, and entrepreneurship. These workers will tell the younger generation of their experiences and what is needed to become an expert in their field. In the future, we can look to partner with the Yale Peabody Museum or the Knights of Columbus to host Human Library sessions which can help market our app to historical enthusiasts.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Program Design

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Ms. Manzione from ESUMS in New Haven, CT.


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