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Human Library

The 2014 Human Library took place on Saturday, January 25.

 

The concept

  • An individual accepts to take part in the event as a Book.
  • Book reservations for specific time slots will be available the day of the event at each site.
  • Books get "checked out" for 20 minutes by a Reader, during which they have a one-on-one conversation.
  • Readers can register for only one book at a time. First come, first served.

Background

Launched in Denmark in 2000, the Human Library was a way to focus on anti-violence, encourage dialogue and build relations. It has grown in popularity with 27 countries taking part in 2008, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Malaysia and South Africa.

Human Library in Ottawa

The Ottawa Public Library is holding this event in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Ottawa (CBC Ottawa).

This event is designed for an adult audience and will be taking place in the adult areas of the participating branches. Children are welcome in the Library, but are not encouraged to participate in the Human Library.

This event is not a career fair.

Photos of the 2013 Human Library

Reader etiquette

  1. The Reader must be respectful in his or her questions and conversation with the Book.
  2. The Reader accepts that the Book can quit the conversation if he or she feels that the Reader treats him or her in an inappropriate or disrespectful manner.
  3. The loan period is for 20 minutes maximum.
  4. The Reader must not record (audio or written), videotape or take pictures of the Book.
  5. The Reader is not allowed to ask the Book for personal contact information.
  6. The Reader must not seek professional counsel during the conversation.
  7. The Human Library is meant for one-on-one conversations.

Carlingwood, 281 Woodroffe

Titles

Descriptions

Related materials

Bylaw Officer

In 1991, Abdulkadar Mohamed Dualeh arrived in Ottawa on his own, as a 17-year-old refugee from Somaliland. He works for the City of Ottawa in parking enforcement. He's won awards from Crime Prevention Ottawa and Queen Elizabeth II for helping people while he was on the job. In one year alone, he apprehended a man who assaulted and mugged a young mother, broke up a vicious assault in the Byward Market and ran onto the Queensway to stop a woman who was trying to kill herself.

Language: French, English

Bylaw Officer

CBC Video-Journalist

Waubgeshig Rice is a Video-Journalist with CBC Ottawa and the author of a book of short stories called Midnight Sweatlodge. He grew up in Wasauksing First Nation. His Anishnaabe background has been a major influence on his story telling career both as a journalist and an author.

Languages: English, German and a bit of Ojibway

CBC Video-Journalist

Former Gang Member

When he was 13, Marc Clairoux joined a skinhead gang at his school. During the 17 years he spent with that gang, he became one of its chief recruiters. After the death of several friends and serving three years in prison for a series of assaults, Marc left gang life. Now, as a volunteer, he's begun to share his personal story with youth-at-risk.   Language: English

Former Gang Member

Foster Parent

When Marie Fortier and her husband were transferred to CFB Petawawa from Manitoba, they decided to become foster parents. Over the past 15 years, the now-retired logistics sergeant with the Canadian Armed Forces has cared for close to 40 pre-teen and teenage boys in her home.

Languages: English, French

Foster Parent

Taxi Driver

After Fad Hashi lost his job in the printing industry, he decided to go into business for himself. He enrolled at Algonquin College to earn his taxi driver's licence. For the past two years, he's worked for DJ's Taxi on the night shift. His fares have included everyone from federal cabinet ministers to NHL players. As the father of an adult child with autism, Fad volunteers with the WAVE program, driving adults with autism to their volunteer and work placements.

Language: English, Somali, Arabic

Taxi Driver

Transgender

Jay-Dee Purdie was born male, but always felt like a woman. In 2006, Jay-Dee began hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery to adapt her male body to match her female mind. Since then she has lived full-time as a woman who enjoys riding her motorcycle, downhill skiing and, more recently, glider flying and horse riding as well.

Language: English

Transgender

 

Carp, 3911 Carp

Titles

Descriptions

Related materials

Police Officer

As a boy, Jeffrey Eva-Gonzalez's family moved to Canada to escape political persecution in Nicaragua. Here in Ottawa, a police officer shot his gang-involved eldest brother after he failed to put down his knife. Eva-Gonzalez lost a second brother to violence when a stranger attacked him with a knife on an escalator at Bayshore Shopping Centre. Now, Constable Eva-Gonzalez works on patrol in West Division of the Ottawa Police Service.

Languages: English, Spanish

Police Officer

Urban Aboriginal

Close to four decades ago Shirley Gagnon left James Bay to study at Algonquin College. For the past seven years this civil servant has co-hosted and produced the community radio program Aboriginal CKCU.

Language: English

Urban Aboriginal

War Vet

In 2007, while patrolling a farmer's field in Afghanistan as a sniper team leader, Master Corporal Jody Mitic stepped on a landmine. The explosions blew off his foot, and injured his other leg, making a double amputation necessary. After returning to Canada for rehabilitation, Jody reconnected with one of the medics who came to his aid. Now the couple has two children. Last year he and his brother placed second in the Canadian version of the reality TV series The Amazing Race.

Language: English

War Vet

 

Greenboro, 363 Lorry Greenberg

Titles

Descriptions

Related materials

Anarchist

Since the late 1990s, Dan Sawyer has helped organize many direct-action campaigns in Ottawa and beyond. They include squatting in a vacant house on Gilmour Street, running special diet clinics for people on social assistance, handing out Hurricane Katrina relief items in New Orleans, and marching through the streets of Ottawa during Take The Capital.

Language: English

Anarchist

Afghan Interpreter

When she was 15, Maryam Sahar Naqibullah worked in Kandahar as the only female interpreter for foreign NGOs, as well as Canadian and American troops. After the Taliban killed her two best friends and kidnapped her brother, she fled to Ottawa under the Afghan Interpreter Immigration Program. Now the 19-year-old is studying International Relations at Carleton University.

Language: English, Pashto, Dari, Urdu and Hindi

Afghan Interpreter

Chinese Adoptee

During elementary school, Maryfrances Carton tried to avoid questions from classmates about where she was born. She only knew someone had abandoned her in a market in China when she was six months old. By the time she was one, an Ottawa family adopted her. She's since returned to China twice, and even visited the orphanage that was once her home.

Language: English

Chinese Adoptee

Former Drug User

After a traumatic childhood, Sean LeBlanc moved to the east coast to go to university. When his pregnant partner drowned, Sean turned to drugs for solace. He spent seven years dependant on drugs. Now he's weaning himself off heroin through a methadone program.  Sean is the chair of D.U.A.L, an Ottawa non-profit group that advocates for harm reduction treatment and the education of drug users.

Language: English

Former Drug User

Recovering Compulsive Gambler

When his parents fought at home, Ken played pinball at the corner store to escape. As he got older, he gambled to escape reality until he was on the verge of losing his house and family. Eleven years ago, he headed to his cottage with the intention of ending his life, but an unlikely knock on the door became one of the catalysts that set Ken on the road to recovery.

Language: English

Recovering Compulsive Gambler

Rabbi

In 1989, Elizabeth Bolton left her life as a classical singer in Canada to study for the rabbinate in the United States. At the time, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia was the only one in North America to accept openly gay students. After serving as a rabbi in Baltimore, last year Elizabeth became Ottawa's first female congregational rabbi and the first resident rabbi to serve Or Haneshamah, Ottawa's Reconstructionist Community.

Language: English, French, greetings in Hebrew and Yiddish welcome

Rabbi

 

Main Library, 120 Metcalfe

Titles

Descriptions

Related materials

Cartoonist

As a cartoonist and illustrator Tom Fowler has worked in comics, advertising, and film and game design. He has worked for Disney, Simon & Schuster, Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, MAD, Valiant, Marvel, and DC Comics. His best known comics include "Venom", "Hulk Season One", "Quantum & Woody", the critically acclaimed "Mysterius the Unfathomable", and the MAD Magazine feature "Monroe". Tom claims to eat only raw meat, stand 13 feet tall, and shoots lasers from his eyes.

Language: English

Cartoonist

CBC Radio Host

Alan Neal is the host of CBC Radio’s All in a Day (91.5 FM), Ottawa's #1 afternoon drive home show. Alan grew up in Ottawa and went to Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has hosted Ontario Today, Bandwidth, and the network music show FUSE. Alan has won several awards including the New York Festival Silver Medal.

Language: English

CBC Radio Host

Chef

In 1967, Luke Campbell left Jamaica to train as a chef at Algonquin College.  After graduation he worked for several hotels, but figured his black skin got in the way of advancement. He wound up knocking on the doors of several embassies to offer his catering services. Soon, he began catering for diplomats, senators, and even prime ministers. These days he is often credited with bringing Jamaican cuisine to Ottawa.

Language: English

Chef

Correctional Officer

In 1997, Denis Collin began his career as a Correctional Officer. He started off at the L'Orignal Jail and then moved to the Rideau Correctional Treatment Centre in Burritts Rapids. For the past 14 years, he's worked at the maximum security Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. He serves as the president of OPSEU local 411, representing members at the Innes Road facility.

Language: English and French

Correctional Officer

Developer

John Doran is the third generation of builders in his family. His grandfather helped construct Parliament Hill's East Block. In 1976, John co-founded Domicile which, back then, restored and renovated older homes. Over the years, the company has evolved to specialize in infill projects.

Language: English

Developer

Family Physician

As a young girl in Iran, Parisa Rezaiefar ran an imaginary medical clinic with her sister. She sought asylum in Canada in her 20s and, against the odds, put herself through medical school. Now she has a family practice at Bruyère Academic Family Health Organization where she mentors medical residents on respecting patient diversity.

Language: English, French and Persian

Family Physician

High School Teacher

Growing up in Ottawa, Adrienne Coddett got used to being one of the only black students in her school. It wasn't until she attended the predominantly black Howard University that she felt a sense of belonging in a classroom. Now she teaches Law and Social Sciences, and through her community organization 3 Dreads and a Bald Head, she puts on the annual Black Youth Conference.

Language: English

High School Teacher

Hunter

At 15 years old, Carla Carlucci started wearing camouflage and blaze orange hunting gear. For two decades, she's hunted deer in the fall and turkey in the spring at her family's camp in Pakenham. She hunts with both a rifle and a cross-bow.

Language: English, Italian

Hunter

Imam

As a boy, Mohamad Jebara committed the entire Qur’an and many Classical manuscripts to memory. Today he is Ottawa's only Canadian-raised Imam and the author of dozens of books. Mohamad is the founder and headmaster of Cordova Academy and Andalusia College. In December 2012, he was ordained the official representative of the National Capital Region for the Canadian Council of Imams.

Language: English, Arabic

Imam

Living with Schizophrenia

In high school, Shawn Thivierge began experiencing compulsive thoughts and behaviours. After a more major episode, he spent a year-and-a-half living in hospital. He became a dedicated volunteer with the Royal Ottawa's Client Empowerment Council. Now the university and college graduate maintains his health through medication, diet and the Japanese martial art of Aikido.

Language: English

Living with Schizophrenia

Métis

Jaime Koebel grew up immersed in both Otipemisiwak (Métis) and Nehiyaw (Cree) cultures in Lac La Biche, Alberta. The daughter of a Mission School survivor, Jaime has made it her goal to ignite social, political and cultural change through contemporary Indigenous arts. As an artist, she uses ink to draw on animal hides and creates fish scale renditions of floral beadwork. She also teaches Métis dance with her children in their group Jaime & the Jiglets.

Language:  English, Cree

Métis

Muslim Woman

Raised in an era of social activism in Philadelphia, Michelle "Um Nur" Walrond embraced Islam in the late 1960’s. Now this convert and great-grandmother leads poverty-elimination campaigns as the South Ottawa Chair of Ottawa ACORN and the founder of the National Islamic Sisters' Association of Canada.

Language: English

Muslim Woman

OC Bus Operator

Gail Tod spent 30 years as an educator teaching everywhere from high school to colleges and even polo clubs. But eleven years ago, she began her career behind the wheel of an OC Transpo bus.

Language: English

OC Bus Operator

Paralympian

In 1990, after a bout with cancer, 20-year-old Jean Labonté had his left leg amputated above the knee. While recovering in hospital, he read an article about the emerging sport of sledge hockey. Six years later, Jean was so good he was invited to wear the national team jersey. This four-time Paralympian captained the Canadian team at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics and carried the Canadian flag at the Opening Ceremonies. He retired from competition later that year.

Language: English and French

Paralympian

Sex Worker

As a university student, Caroline Newcastle paid for school by working full-time as a bartender. One evening, after hearing her lamenting about the grueling hours, one of her bar patrons suggested she try sex work. At first, Caroline kicked the patron out, but after months of researching the idea she decided to give it a try.  She has been an indoor sex worker for the past four years and is involved in the sex workers' human rights movement.

Language: English, French

Sex Worker

Street Outreach Worker

Fourteen years ago, Pete Cassidy woke up in a jail cell, charged with murder.  He didn't have any memory of the night before because he had been high on drugs. In the end, his case was tossed out of court. While it wound its way through the system Pete went through detox and started his own outreach project called StreetSmarts. He offers clothing and other support to street- and drug-involved people in the Byward Market.  He operates his program through Jewish Family Services.   Language: English

Street Outreach Worker

 

Orléans, 1705 Orléans

Titles

Descriptions

Related materials

CBC TV News Anchor

Adrian Harewood is the co-host of CBC News Ottawa Monday to Friday starting at 5:00 p.m., and host of the late night news each weeknight at 10:55 p.m. He grew up in Ottawa. Adrian first got the broadcasting bug when he volunteered at campus stations CHUO and CKCU. He has filled in as host on such well-known programs as As It Happens and Sounds Like Canada.

Languages: English and French

CBC TV News Anchor

Comedian

Born in Nicaragua, Martha Chaves survived both the Managua Earthquake and the start of the Sandinista Revolution. Her parents sent her to Canada as a political refugee. Since then she's felt uprooted, cold and confused about her identity, which she figures makes her a true Canadian citizen. She tours the country as a headliner for Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club and this year celebrates 21 years in stand-up comedy.

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian

Comedian

Drag Queen

Twelve years ago, Zelda Marshall first stepped onto a stage wearing high heels, a wig and make-up. Now, she's affectionately known as a grandmother in the Ottawa drag scene. Zelda volunteers with the GLBT Liaison Committee of the Ottawa Police. She also hosts a Thursday night drag show at Swizzle's and Dirty Bingo at Algonquin College. Language: English

Drag Queen

Former Mixed Martial Artist

Nick Denis a.k.a. "The Ninja of Love" has won three King of the Cage titles, and competed in Japan at the Sengoku Championship. He dropped out of the final year of his PHD in biochemistry to pursue MMA full-time. He landed a five-fight contract with the UFC. In 2012, he decided to retire from the sport because of his concerns about potential brain damage.

Language: English

Former Mixed Martial Artist

Mother of 8

During her first year of law school, Véronique Bergeron was shocked to see the little blue line appear on the pregnancy test she took. Despite warnings from some of her peers that an infant might destroy her professional aspirations, she and her partner decided to have the baby. Now, 18 years later, their family has grown to include eight kids, with a ninth one the way.

Language: French and English

Mother of 8

Urban Inuk

Mosha Folger was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut to an Inuk mother and American father. He first moved to Ottawa in 1998. In 2009, under the name M.O., he self-released his first hip hop album, Eskimocentricity, along with the follow-up String Games. As the son of a residential school student, Mosha is currently working on Anaana, a personal documentary examining the lasting effects of residential schools.

Language: English

Urban Inuk