Human interest books on offer

Human Library is coming to Leighton
Human Library is coming to Leighton

Leighton Buzzard Library will be offering visitors the chance to borrow something different on Saturday, November 1 – human books.

Central BedsCouncil has collaborated with Bedford Creative Arts for the Human Library project, which will see the human books on offer between 11am and 4pm, sharing quirky and personal experiences with the people that borrow them.

Human Library works just like a normal library – readers choose from a catalogue and borrow a book for a limited period of time, before returning it for others to share. The twist in the Human Library is that the books are people and “reading” them involves a conversation.

Human Library has become a worldwide phenomenon since it began in 2000 in Denmark. Examples of books that have been on loan in the past include: Life with Ginger Hair; I’m a Feminist (by a man); Passionate about being a Muslim; Being Transsexual and Journey Through Paranoid Schizophrenia? This time people can borrow books including The Lonely Gays in the Village and Lazy Single Mum?

Because the Human Library allows people to choose a book with a story that will challenge them to think differently about the way they see people in their community, it designed to reduce prejudices, encourage understanding and get different groups talking with each other – as well as asking questions about subjects they may normally be too polite to broach.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Libraries are very important as part of a thriving community, and here in Central Bedfordshire we are proud to be investing in our libraries and putting on events to encourage people of all ages to visit.

“As well as offering a huge array of books, newspapers, magazines, CDs and DVDs to the public, our 12 libraries offer free internet access, events for the whole family including our popular baby Rhymetime sessions and Good Afternoon meetings, and a first-class enquiry series to help you find the information you need.

“But we are not resting on our laurels, which is why we are pleased to collaborate with organisations like Bedford Creative Arts to offer this exciting Human Library project. I hope that people take full advantage of the interesting ‘titles’ on offer and learn something about a subject that is totally new to them.”

The Human Library project is part of a new initiative called Library as Laboratory for which we have secured a £98,000 Arts Council grant.

The project will engage the public in collaboration with artists to ask the question “What is the library of the future?”