Imagine being able to “borrow” a person for half an hour from the library, instead of a book.
Getting the chance to have a chat with a person you would never have met and get an insight into their world, their thoughts, emotions, challenges, joys and happiness.
If it seems a little unreal, well, it’s not actually, because just such a project was launched in Denmark.
Motivational speaker and comedian Robin Banks recently highlighted the initiative in a post on Facebook.
He wrote: “Launched in Denmark, this innovative and brilliant project is a bookstore of human beings. You can borrow a person for half an hour and hear their story. The initiative soon spread to other places, thanks to The Human Library.”
Banks commented that the living library gives readers the opportunity to connect with people they would not usually have the opportunity to meet. He noted that it promotes dialogue, reduces prejudices, breaks stereotypes and promotes understanding between people of different ages, sex, lifestyles and cultural background.
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On its website The Human Library says, “We publish people as open books”; “Do you defy a stereotype?”; “Unjudge someone”; and, “Have you turned hardship into hope?”
“The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers. A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered,” it said.
And the idea has rapidly spread, now having a presence in about 80 countries. In some countries it’s a temporary set-up for now, while in South Korea and Tasmania, the human libraries are permanent.
“What a great idea!” said Banks.