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Muskegon Area District Library (MADL), Muskegon Community College (MCC), and Hackley Public Library (HPL), are excited to announce the launch of the innovative “Humans of Muskegon” storytelling program. This collaborative initiative, running through April, aims to spotlight the diverse narratives of Muskegon County residents who have navigated experiences related to prejudice, acceptance, discrimination, health struggles, and more.


The “Humans of Muskegon” program employs a unique storytelling format, combining recorded narratives and live, interactive sessions to create a platform for individuals to share their personal journeys. Through this initiative, the community partners hope to foster a greater understanding among residents, break down societal barriers, and contribute to the creation of a more empathetic and inclusive community.

Inspired by the Human Library concept originating in Denmark, “Humans of Muskegon” seeks to bring real people and their stories to the forefront of public discourse. By embracing the principles of being Open Books, the featured individuals aim to share their lesser-told stories, challenge stereotypes, and ultimately build bridges of understanding.

The stories featured in the “Humans of Muskegon” program were gathered from community members who eagerly participated in this unique and meaningful opportunity to share their personal experiences. These narratives serve as a powerful tool to encourage others to confront and challenge stereotypes within our community.

Click on this image to visit the 2024 Humans of Muskegon story tellers.  

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The program unfolds in two distinct parts:

Part 1: Listen and Watch

Beginning January 10, the public is invited to access the 15-minute recorded stories from the “Humans of Muskegon” online at

Part 2: Engage

Join us on Saturday, February 17, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Egelston Branch of MADL and Wednesday, April 3, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the MCC Gerber Lounge. Attendees will have the opportunity to “check out” our Human books for one-on-one or small group 20-minute conversations, fostering open dialogue and understanding. The public is encouraged to attend these sessions to listen, engage, and develop a better understanding of the rich tapestry that makes up our community.

We invite the community to join us in this powerful initiative, as “Humans of Muskegon” strives to amplify diverse voices, promote inclusivity, and cultivate a more compassionate and connected Muskegon County.

These are our 2024 “Humans of Muskegon”

Thomas Shaffer and Steve Neubauer

-Gay, Married, and Christian

Jeffery VanDyke

-Life in a Wheelchair: Standing Tall, From a Sitting Point (and a flat tire)

William Kitchen

-Life Post-Incarceration: Emerging From Darkness

Robert Bower

-A Veteran of Two Wars: A Misfit

Nex Wilson

-Surviving Sexual Assault

Eric Carballido

-Hispanic in Higher Ed: Trailblazing in Academia

Tonette Brown Garner

-How to Stay Sane While Living Black

Kimi George

-Finding Life Beyond Shame

Jeffrey Scott Pienela

-Child of Three Moms

Kenneth McCallum

-Out in the Business World

Jackie Hallberg

-More Than Skin Deep: Tattooed Yet Professional

Rikki Ridout

-Surviving Family Secrets

Sherri Coulibaly

-Living Beyond Cancer

Jim Fisher

-Being Jewish in Muskegon

Michelle Grenell

-Managing a Medically Complex Family

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