Everywhere else in the world if you notice someone checking out a stripper you don’t think much of it. In Ottawa, on January 28, if you see someone checking out a stripper, they’re at their local library and they’re just going to have a nice chat for 20 minutes or so.
Oh, Canada! You’ve charmed us once again, this time with your “Human Library,” wherein patrons of Ottawa’s libraries will be able to borrow a human being for 20 minutes at a time. Included in their selection will be a prostitute, a stripper, an HIV positive man and a transgendered woman who will talk with the patrons about their lives one-on-one. The human subjects, who will also include (depending on which branch you go to) an urban aboriginal, a Muslim woman, a police officer and a Peking Opera performer, will not make presentations, but will have conversations with patrons. The event is meant to promote “diversity and dialogue,” says a story in the National Post.
Of course there are some people who have objected to the checking out of the sex worker and the stripper. But, “Books are about information and information comes in many, many formats, and a human book is a unique way of presenting information. ... The role of the public library is to provide access to information,” said Elaine Condos, the city’s acting librarian.
The Human Library concept actually began in Denmark, the Post says, “when an anti-violence group was asked to build a program to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding for fans attending the large Roskilde music festival. It has been replicated around the world.”
We gotta say, though, if we were gonna check out a Canadian, can it be Ryan Reynolds?