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What Are Human Libraries

Brilliant or Baffling: Library Loans Out People

It's not just big bookstores that are feeling the bite of the ebooks revolution; libraries are feeling the pinch as well. In efforts to lure people back to them, libraries are trying to come up with creative ways to give patrons reasons to come back.

One library in Surrey, British Columbia, is experimenting with the idea of "living books," which basically are people who donate their time to share their knowledge and expertise with those who need it. These walking books will be available to you once you schedule an appointment for a 30- to 45-minute conversation with the volunteers.

Apparently, the idea of a human library can be traced back decades to Denmark, according to librarian Ravi Basi. He says, "The original concept was to break down barriers, dispel myths and shatter stereotypes. You could speak to somebody who is of a certain religion, for example; there are so many misconceptions about different religions. It could be someone with a mental illness." Ravi mentions that the type of local experts he's considering can include an astronomer, war veteran, or painter.

What do you think of this idea — brilliant or baffling?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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