The Human Library

Theo Schell-Lambert looks into an experiment at Toronto's Public Library:

For 30 minutes each, visitors could “check out” and glean stories from volunteers, who were selected for their compelling backgrounds. ... "Books" on the shelf ranged from a Buddhist monk to a quadriplegic journalist to a gang member-turned-doctor to a formerly homeless businessman (apparently, the curators’ tastes skewed to realist epics over comedies of manners). And, even as the concept of human texts playfully undermines some sacred library traditionscard catalogue searches; shushingthe program does seem to hit on the discovery experience, even the literary populism, at the core of a great library.