Like any community, Nelson is made up of all sorts of people with all sorts of stories. At our best we are welcoming, compassionate, and understanding—and yet some of our neighbours have felt misunderstood, stigmatized, or discriminated against.
The Nelson Public Library aims to bring everyone a little closer with its first Human Library on Saturday, March 18. The theme of the Human Library is “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Readers are invited to check out a Human Book—a living person with a story—for a 20-minute conversation, with a collection of six books available for check-out in the morning, and a different six-book collection in the afternoon.
Books available for check-out include titles that address racism, intolerance, stigmatization and misunderstanding, such as “Living with Schizophrenia”; “Apathy = Consent: Bi-Racial in Nelson”; and “Gender Queer: Being Non-binary in a Binary World.”
Some titles speak to subjects we might want to know more about, such as “Living Organ Donor”, “Full Circle: Adoption from Both Sides”, “Compulsive Overeater Turned Vegan”, “One Day at a Time: Alcoholic in Recovery”, and “Good Grief: Finding Peace with Loss.”
Folks who check out “From Riches to Rags (And Working My Way Back)” may discover why assumptions can be wrong. Borrowing human books such as “I Call Myself a Feminist” and “Quaker Peace and Non-violence Activist” can offer a window into what drives personal philosophy.
The Human Library began in Copenhagen in 2000 by a youth organization called Stop the Violence.
The group wanted to create a safe place for conversation between individuals who have been exposed to prejudice or stigma and interested members of the community in order to dispel myths and create understanding. The project has spread, and is now worldwide.
“I’ve been so impressed and inspired by the stories and the courage of the people who have come forward to be human books,” says staff member and project coordinator Anne DeGrace.
“I believe it will be an unforgettable experience for everyone.”
Books may be borrowed during two sessions at the Library on March 18 from 10:30 to 12:30 and from 1:30 to 3:30.
Anyone 15 years of age and older may check out a Human Book with two books allowed per borrower. Those under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. More information can be found at nelsonlibrary.ca.