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Human Library

The 2016 Human Library will be taking place on Saturday, February 27, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The event, offered in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Ottawa (CBC Ottawa) and the Ottawa Public Library (OPL), will be held at three branches:

Details about the books will be available shortly.

A documentary about Ottawa's Human Library was produced by CBC Ottawa. It originally aired on August 22, 2015. Check it out!

The Human Library was originally launched in Denmark in 2000 as a way to focus on anti-violence, encourage dialogue and build relations. It has grown in popularity with 30 countries taking part in 2012, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Malaysia and South Africa.

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.
  • This program is designed for an adult audience. Children may check out certain books with the in-person consent of a parent.
  • This event is not a career fair.

Reader etiquette

In order to participate in the Human Library as a Reader, you must:

  1. Be respectful of the Book at all times.
  2. Understand that the Book can terminate the conversation should the Book feel disrespected or treated inappropriately.
  3. Not record (video, audio or writen), take pictures or interview the Book.
  4. Not ask the Book for personal contact information.
  5. Not seek professional counsel during the conversation.


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