Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Human Library

This post is a footnote to the previous one.

The Human Library: Check out a person instead of a bookI used an image there which I found on The Centered Librarian, a blog by David Booker which he describes as "Tracking innovation, development and experimentation in information studies and library science and spotting new technologies, trends, fun stuff and much more."

I hadn't heard of The Human Library project before, by Booker's article certainly caught my attention. Here's a bit from their About pages:

What is the Human Library?

The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding.The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach.

In its initial form the Human Library is a mobile library set up as a space for dialogue and interaction. Visitors to a Human Library are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex and cultural background.

The Human Library enables groups to break stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive and humorous manner. It is a concrete, easily transferable and affordable way of promoting tolerance and understanding.

It is a “keep it simple”, “no-nonsense” contribution to social cohesion in multicultural societies. Read more about the history HERE.
Booker's image is actually from a YongeStreet article about Toronto Public Library's Human Library project. The author Paul Gallant reports:

The Toronto Public Library held its first Human Library event at five branches on Nov. 6 [2010], attracting more than 200 users who checked out the likes of a police officer, a comedian, a sex-worker-turned-club-owner, a model and a survivor of cancer, homelessness and poverty. They're all volunteers whose lives would make good reading, but even better one-on-one chatting.
Follow all of these links. It's an exciting idea which fits very well with my contention in the previous post that libraries are about people, not information.

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