Eight people will become "open books" this month to share their stories of domestic violence, infertility and religion with anyone who's curious.

The Human Library event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon April 21 at the Orange branch of the Delaware County District Library, 7171 Gooding Blvd.

Each of the eight "books" can be "checked out" by patrons for 30-minute increments.

"Each book will have a private space. They are pretty deeply personal stories that they are sharing and there are some hard topics to discuss," said Amee Sword, the adult-services librarian who is organizing the event. "I'm very excited that these people have stepped up to do it."

Samantha Valesky, the deputy fiscal officer for the library, has struggled with infertility for four years and volunteered to share her story.

After a miscarriage, Valesky, 29, tried intrauterine insemination treatments that sent her to the emergency room.

"Now we're exploring a more-natural way," she said.

After hearing about the Creighton Model, a natural family-planning method, Valesky got a second opinion. She since has had surgery for endometriosis and said she is "cautiously optimistic."

"Talking about infertility, it helps me. When people know, when my family knows, when my co-workers know, what I'm going through, they can be encouraging -- a listening ear -- and that helps me," Valesky said.

Valesky said she and her husband still are considering all avenues when it comes to children.

"Look around, do some research, go to the library -- just be your own advocate, and that should be true with any health issue, but especially with infertility," she said. "I don't know how this story is going to play out for me. This is a chapter of my story that I'm sharing."

Orange branch manager Sara Kennedy was the first "book" to sign on.

After a prolonged illness, Kennedy was diagnosed at 35 with a form of vasculitis. She underwent surgery to amputate her left leg below the knee.

"It's a great way to encourage dialogue in the community to learn about people who are different from yourself," Kennedy said. "I'm interested to see who shows up and what they want to know. It will be a chance to hear the things that oftentimes people are afraid to ask."

Now 37, Kennedy uses a prosthesis. She spent 22 days in the hospital recovering and was out of work for nearly six months adjusting to what she calls her "new normal."

"I am healthy now," Kennedy said. "Before, I didn't really take great care of myself and now I'm definitely more active than I've ever been in my whole life. I'm not scared to try new things."

In addition to Valesky and Kennedy, the other "books" include an American Muslim, an emergency medic with more than 20 years of experience, a victim of domestic abuse, and a woman living with depression and anxiety disorders.

Sword said she hopes to expand the event to other branches with different stories.

"I think we do better when we know better," she said.

For more information on each of the books, visit delawarelibrary.org/content/ human-library.

To reserve a time slot, call 740-549-2665. Walk-ins will be accepted as time and subject availability permits.

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