Human Library Day something for Langara to consider?

Former gang member, Jim Mandelin speaks with visitors at Surrey’s City Centre Library on Jan. 26. Photo by: Brandon Kostinuk.
Former gang member, Jim Mandelin speaks with visitors at Surrey’s City Centre Library on Jan. 26, 2013. Photo by: Brandon Kostinuk.

Human Library Day offered the public a chance to “sign out” people they may never otherwise get the chance to meet.

The event, which started 12 years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, reached Surrey’s City Centre Library on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Sponsored by CBC, the event allowed visitors to check out a human book for an intimate half-hour long conversation.

CBC spokesperson Leo Damian said that the goal for the event was to allow people to meet others unlike themselves.

“The premise of it is to increase awareness,” said Damian. “Basically to be informative in regard to stereotypes, generalizations of different backgrounds, cultures, professions and different ethnic groups.”

Among the 20 “books” were a transgendered woman, a military trauma surgeon and a Muslim scholar.

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Communications librarian Annie Jensen said that she’d love to see similar events take place as Langara’s library transitions to a more holistic place for students to learn.

“We’re always undergoing different changes and opening new things,” said Jensen. “So, it’s part of us evolving our services and events that we’re offering students.”

Sciences student Patrina Sahni said she’d attend a Langara human library because she believes that stereotypical biases should be addressed at the college level.

Psychology student Reza Haghi also said that attending similar events at Langara would be beneficial to students to help them learn to empathize with others.

“It doesn’t matter if five people show or 50 people show,” said Haghi. “Because if the event can educate a single person by the end of the day, then the mission was accomplished.”

Vancouver Public Library will be holding its final installment of Human Library Day from Feb. 1 to 3 at 12 p.m.

Reported by Hailey McDonald

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