Thursday, 15 July 2010

Human Libraries - Learning not to judge a book by its cover ...

Having looked last time at e-books, my attention this month was caught by another very different sort of book – the Living Book, and its home, the Human Library.

I first heard about Human Libraries via a programme on BBC Radio 4 . As I learnt, ‘the Human Library works exactly like a normal library – readers come and borrow a 'book' for a limited period of time. After reading it they return the Book to the library and – if they want – they can borrow another Book. There is only one difference: the Books in the Human Library are human beings, and the Books and Readers enter into a personal dialogue.’

I have to admit, being a writer, my first thought when I heard about this was ‘what a fantastic research opportunity’. Supposing you have a character who is a gang member, a homeless person, a woman vicar. What better than to sit down with someone who has been in their shoes, with full permission to ask them whatever questions you like? Okay, maybe you wouldn’t learn enough in half an hour’s conversation to flesh out a main character, but it could be perfect to ensure a minor character is more than just a flat stereotype. But was this in the spirit of the Human Library, or would I be taking advantage? I had to find out more.

Full article by Catriona Troth in the August Issue of Words with JAM ... OUT SOON!

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