The Human Library



This was an event I had never heard of before, but as soon as I did, I was intrigued. It’s called the living library, or the human library. It’s about interacting with real people, and having real conversations with them about their fields.

The concept

  • An individual accepts to take part in the event as a Book.
  • Book reservations for specific time slots will be available the day of the event at each site.
  • Books get “checked out” for 20 minutes by a Reader, during which they have a one-on-one conversation.
  • Readers can register for only one book at a time. First come, first served.


Launched in Denmark in 2000, the Human Library was a way to focus on anti-violence, encourage dialogue and build relations. It has grown in popularity with 27 countries taking part in 2008, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Malaysia and South Africa.

The Ottawa Library held theirs on January 25th, and they had a lot of really interesting people available to ‘borrow’ including a Bylaw Officer at Carlingwood, a former gang member, a transgender, and a foster parent. The unique perspective that each person gave is something that just completely blew me away. I hope to see more of these events in the future, and if you have one such event taking place around your area, I highly suggest you check it out.


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