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Human Library

October 7, 2017, 9.30 AM-12.00 PM

Human Library

What’s it like to be homeless or a cop on the streets, to start a movement of strong women or to compete at the Paralympics?

Talk with people from all walks of life at the Human Library. You will be inspired as you listen to their stories.

The Human Library aims to reduce stereotypes and prejudice and to promote respect for human rights and dignity.

Presented by Avondale Libraries.

What is a Human Library?

A Human Library is just like a normal library, except the books are human and the borrowers interact with their book.

Human books are available for borrowing.

A borrower (who could be an individual or a group of individuals) and their book go to a quiet area and talk.

After 15 minutes, the book returns and is available for another borrower.


1. Law enforcement: it’s not like Hollywood
Phillip Hannah is driven and adventurous. He’s served as a missionary teaching English in China, owned a business, joined the Army Reserve and studied outdoor recreation at Avondale College. In his work with the NSW Police Force, Phil has seen things he’d prefer forget. But he stands firm in his faith and prays God will work through him.

2. Former drug user and homeless person
Tracey Richards’ near-death experience in a motor vehicle accident served as the catalyst for her drug taking. She would eventually join other homeless people on the streets of Newcastle. But Tracey sought help to kick her addiction and now works for other people who are homeless and addicted to drugs.

3. Tut Roadshow
Dr Wayne French has been to the Middle East many times and has collected an impressive array of artefacts. He’ll show you some of his favourites. He might even tell you about the Tut Roadshow, a purpose-built semitrailer bringing the wonders of Ancient Egypt to schools and community centres along the east coast of Australia.

4. Parliamentarian, Paralympian, teacher, lover of life
After seven years representing Australia at the Paralympic Games (and winning five medals), five years playing professional wheelchair basketball in the Spanish, Italian and French men’s leagues, and 25 years teaching public education, Liesl Tesch is now Member for Gosford in the Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of New South Wales.

5. Hitchhiking by plane
Graham Weslake grew up on Norfolk Island and the spirit of adventure never left him—the radiographer hitchhikes by plane and motorcycles on holidays around Australia (ask about the accident that nearly took his life).

6. Gospel singer and pastor
Grego Pillay will share stories of his journey from South Africa to Australia. His family are of Hindu heritage and he loves to sing—ask him about his new album.

7. Global adventurer (or the lion cuddler who rode with the Hells Angels before clowning in the Amazon)
Graeme Frauenfelder has clowned: with Patch Adams and more than 100 others in slums by the Amazon River; in displaced people’s camps after an earthquake in China, and; at community festivals associated with five Olympics and two FIFA World Cups. He’s also ridden for a day with a Hells Angels charter in western Sydney and cuddled lions, cheetahs and giraffes in Zambia and South Africa.

8. The woman who quit her job to empower others
Shauna Ryan is a millennial visionary who founded a burgeoning social media campaign that became social startup STRONG WOMAN. A trained primary school teacher, Shauna left her full-time job in 2016 to follow her passion of empowering women.

9. Unexpected author
Marian de Berg knows a lot of fascinating facts about “Sunnyside” Historic Home, built in Cooranbong in 1895 and the Australian home of Seventh-day Adventist Church pioneer Ellen White. She’s also the author of Stories from Sunnyside: Ellen White in Australia 1891-1900, which gives unique insights into Ellen White’s personal ministry in and around Cooranbong, establishing a country home with a large household, supporting new church members and serving people in the community.

10. Self-made businesswoman
Born in Brazil to a teenage mother, Camila Skaf through determination and strength moved from the suburbs to the city, studying at one of the top universities in New York then working at one of the world’s largest investment banks. Camila is co-founder and Executive Director of SEEDS Newcastle, a not-for-profit charity seeking to empower people and transform communities.

11. Missionary nurse—not for the faint-hearted
Margaret Watts served with her husband and nine-month-old child as a nurse at isolated mission stations in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea in the 1950s and 1960s. With medical emergencies, babies to deliver, teeth to extract and cyclones, tidal waves and storms to weather, Margaret’s faith in God grew. The letters she wrote home to family and friends are now published in a book called Dearest Folks.

12. Don’t believe in the word “cannot”
Grace Paulson should have died the night she and her classmates at a Sri Lankan school were surrounded by Sinhalese rebels. They survived thanks to a quick-thinking dean who switched off the lights. The former refugee’s amazing journey—living in five countries, speaking four languages—now spans 35 years. The only hindrance to my dreams and aspirations, she says? Me.

13. Architect, artist, advocate
Dr Neville Clouten studied architecture under Lloyd Rees and George Molnar at The University of Sydney. His subsequent career as an academic spanned 35 years. He now draws his sketches and watercolours on location at places of architectural significance. In retirement, Neville presents watercolour workshops on cruise ships. One of Neville’s passion projects has been partnering with the rural community of Rapogi in western Kenya to build a primary school for orphaned children.


9.30 am, Introduction and preface to books

9.45 am, Borrowing session 1

10 am, Borrowing session 2

10.15 am, Borrowing session 3

10.30 am, Morning tea

11 am, Borrowing session 4

11.15 am, Borrowing session 5

11.30 am, Borrowing session 6

11.45 am, Borrowing session 7


October 7, 2017
9.30 AM-12.00 PM
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Avondale College of Higher Education
(02) 4980 2222


Avondale Libraries (Lake Macquarie campus)
582 Freemans Dr
Cooranbong, NSW 2265 Australia
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