Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Check Out Toronto's Living Breathing Books

excerpted from Human Library story by Paul Gallant, Toronto-based freelance writer
City Building, Diversity, Research and Innovation In comfy green chairs in front of a massive and sunny window overlooking Bloor Street, several different conversations are taking place between pairings of strangers. A CBC journalist is telling someone about the stories he's covered. A Tibetan Buddhist monk is talking about his journey to Canada and about the importance of peace.
Considering the size of the system -- it's the world's largest public library -- and the diversity of people who use it, the TPL eschews a one-size-fits-all approach. (Or throwing large sums of money at things -- the Human Library project cost about $5,000). Each branch has an array of materials in languages that reflect the population of its neighbourhood.

"People think of libraries as places where you're shushed, which can be intimidating, but we work hard to make it welcoming," says Aikins."In our feedback from the Human Library event, we found that a good portion of users heard about it from social media, "in the least personal, most mediated way, they found a way to have a very personal experience."