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Librarian in Residence: #YOWHumanLibrary returns this Saturday

By Jessica Green on February 16, 2015

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips.

On February 21st, you can participate in one of the most unique library events: the Human Library. The fourth edition of the popular event will happen in library branches all across the Ottawa Gatineau area as for the first time, the Bibliothèque municipale de Gatineau is joining in this event along with the Ottawa Public Library and the CBC.

The idea for the Human Library started in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of anti-violence efforts and has spread all over the globe, with even a permanent Human Library in Australia.  How it works is instead of checking out a physical book, you check out a human book, and each one of these books has a different story that you can learn about during a 20 minute conversation. The hope is that having a dialogue with someone you would never normally interact with will reduce prejudices and promote a greater understanding of different walks of life.  Some of the stories featured in this edition include a Canadian Muslim, an Urban Inuk, a former drug user, a comedian and a daughter of a deportee.

Library staff will register you the day of the event, so arrive early and with a few choices of books in mind, as it’s a busy event. We hosted it at the branch where I work a few years ago and it was a huge success. People really enjoyed speaking to the various books, and gained a new appreciation for the people in their neighbourhood that they normally would never encounter.

This year, the Human Library will take place at three locations of the Ottawa Public Library and one location of the Bibliothèque municipale de Gatineau between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on Saturday, February 21:

In Ottawa: Main Branch, 120 Metcalfe Street; Nepean Centrepoint Branch, 101 Centrepoint Drive; St Laurent Branch, 515 Av. Côté.

In Gatineau: Bibliothèque de la Maison-du-Citoyen, 25 rue Laurier

To view the full list of book titles and their locations, visit here or here. If you’re on Twitter, you can use the tags #YOWHumanLibrary / #YOWBiblioVivante to tweet about the day!

Quick picks:

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley – I believe one of the cover commenters called this James Bond meets Ghostbusters, and it’s just a crazy, madcap, fun book where a secret organization saves the rest of us from all the things that go bump in the night. Your main character awakes with amnesia and is piecing together her circumstances as well as everything about the Checquy. I anxiously await the sequel.

Creatures of the Rock: A Veterinarian’s Adventures in Newfoundland by Andrew Peacock – This is very much a All Creatures Great and Small done in a Canadian way. You can tell Peacock’s great affection and occasional exasperation with being a vet in Newfoundland since the 1980s. A fun slice of life book, especially if you love animals, and the characters who own them.

Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark by Mike Doyle – is a really interesting book showcasing many artists who create the creepy and the fantastic out of LEGO. Some pieces use thousands of blocks, others just a few. A very cool book.