Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Human Library: Check out a person instead of a book

Originating in Copenhagen over ten years ago, The Human Library is an ongoing project designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The very simple but effective program only requires 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. Think of it as "checking out" a human instead of a book.

The Human Library strives 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.

The Toronto Public Library held its first Human Library event at five branches on Nov. 6, 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. The library is considering make the program long-term, so a supply of human books will be regularly available to readers.

Found at YongeStreet Media via Pinterest

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