A Qualitative Inquiry into the Human Library Approach : Facilitating Social Inclusion and Promoting Recovery

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Article number3029
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Online published27 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020



The key to the successful social inclusion of people recovering from mental illness is mutual understanding with other community members. To promote such social inclusion, the human library approach has been adopted by a group of practitioners based in Hong Kong. Through a review of this community mental health initiative, this study explores the relevance and usefulness of this approach in a mental health setting. A collaborative inquiry-based research method was adopted to explore the human library approach in practice. A practitioner inquiry group was conducted with four social workers and three peer support workers to examine their experience of running the human library. Thematic analysis and member checks were used to identify important themes. The practitioners’ reports of their experiences showed that the human library is well suited to facilitating social inclusion and promoting mental health recovery. Community members and people in recovery can benefit from participating in a human library, and the two sides can become connected through mutual understanding. However, possible risks for people in recovery were also identified. This study argues that the human library deserves consideration as an approach to facilitating social inclusion and promoting recovery. Its effectiveness and benefits are evident, especially compared with large-scale one-way intervention approaches. A clinical practice manual should be developed to inform future practitioners of the value of the human library approach in mental health settings.

Research Area(s)

  • social inclusion, mental health, anti-stereotyping, human library

Download Statistics

No data available