Some of the best stories are the ones you live. A project in Denmark has taken this to the next level with their Human Library, where you can check out 'people' rather than books.
The Human Library started in Denmark 15 years ago, in 2000, as part of a youth organization to curb youth violence. The idea is quite straightforward - library guests can choose which volunteer they’d like to 'check out' based on titles assigned to themselves. Some of the titles include “Olympic Athlete,” “Biking Agoraphobic”, “a woman who grew up in South Africa under apartheid” and “former teacher who underwent a gender transition”. Visitors then sit down with their 'books' to listen to them share their personal stories.
The aim of the project is to combat prejudice, and to promote compassion and understanding, by giving people a chance to connect with someone they may have never had a chance to speak with otherwise. The visitors also have the unique opportunity to ask questions and interact with the stories as they listen to them.
The experiment has since expanded into a worldwide project, with human libraries making appearances in 50 countries on five continents, including Tasmania and South Korea. The project has worked so well that some cities have even set up permanent, award-winning libraries.
It truly is a beautiful project, that lives its motto: Don't judge a book by its cover.