This evening, we unveil our new studio to our friends, family and clients, past and present. Our senior designer, Cathy, and Sam have collaborated on five eye-catching canvases featured on our walls, including the one above. That’s Cathy’s grandmother on the motorcycle on the left. This evocative image was the perfect one to pair with Isak Dinesen’s quote.
In the new year, there’s another project that takes Dinesen’s aphorism more literally: The Human Library. Founded in 2000 in Copenhagen by Dany Abergel, Asma Mouna, Christoffer Erichsen, Thomas Bertelsen and Ronni Abergel, the Human Library is a project to mobilise people against violence by building connections through stories. A Human Library is filled with “human books,” people who have chosen to tell their story and share their experiences. Library visitors can borrow and read check out books for 20 to 30 minutes. Human Libraries helps readers and books to transcend stereotypes and prejudices, and ultimately, build understanding.
One UK “book reviewer” wrote, “A human book … exists in the real four-dimensional scope of human experience. The reader can’t skip bits or neglect their book, a human book requires fixed attention and, through that intimate engagement with another’s story, invites empathy through real human engagement.” Recently, we’ve become so comfortable crafting and receiving communications through text, having conversations can challenge our social beliefs and habits in surprisingly radical ways.
In Canada last year, the Ottawa Public Library had six branches and the Canadian War Museum involved and let visitors check out books titled “Sex worker,” “Peking Opera performer” and “Bus driver,” to name a few. In 2013, the CBC will be sponsoring Human Libraries across the country. Other organizations are also providing this amazing service including, the Toronto Public Library, the University of Alberta, and the PuSh Festival in our city. On January 18-20, 25-27, and February 1-3 (12:00PM – 4:00PM), 30 books will be on offer at the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch.
Tonight, we’re fortunate to have such a funny, warm and original library at our disposal. The Echo team and family will be celebrating this festive season in the stacks.
Happy “reading” and happy holidays.