Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Human Library?

While researching social media I came across this strange phenomenon: A library that loans out people in a human library.

Basically, you "check out" people to have a 45-minute conversation about who they are and hear their story one-on-one. It's to help us get past our prejudices and the stereotypes that exist around someone that we've never actually had any interactions with like a gypsy, a transvestite or a person of a different religion.
It started in 2000 at the Roskilde Festival. A poster from the event said in big bold letters: "Don't judge a book by it's cover" and then in Danish underneath, "especially when its not a book." The far right corner continues in Danish:

"Borrow a person you normally would think you would not like. We have a wide selection of unpopular stereotypes. Everything from gays to hip hoppers to immigrants. Take a walk, have a talk or dont. Just remember to give back the person within two hours".

The event was so popular that it has since spread across the globe. Here's a video from The Guardian, regarding an event in England:

I love the idea that a personal conversation is being used in such an interesting way to fight prejudice and stereotypes. In this case, it's marketing for a good cause. And possibly a good back-up plan if my other career options don't pan out. I'm just not sure if I would be a better "book" or "reader."

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