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Debskidoo Carmarthenshire Posted 2 months ago

In Denmark, there are libraries where you can borrow a person instead of a book to listen to their life story for 30 minutes. The aim is to fight against prejudices. Each person has a title – “unemployed”, “refugee”, “bipolar”, etc.

– but by listening to their story, you realize how much you shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”. This innovative and brilliant project is active in more than 50 countries. It’s called “The Human Library

21 likes & 28 replies
    • Dreamyboy 10th October 2021 at 8:35 am

      Personally, after 30 minutes of listening to someone rambling away about themselves, I’d want to strangle them – but each to their own I suppose😏

    • Alexandra 2013 10th October 2021 at 8:43 am

      I would love that near me – to gain a better understanding of people instead of being judgemental (which a lot of people do just by looking)

    • Steve Guitar 10th October 2021 at 9:52 am

      I live in Hackney, one of the most diverse boroughs in England. Here over 300 languages are spoken. We have no need for such libraries. All we have to do is speak to almost any person on the bus . Personally, I smile and say where have you come from? I listen and hear the most amazing stories!

    • aligil 10th October 2021 at 10:42 am

      It sounds a lovely idea to me; I would certainly go to meet people and listen.
      Sadly, it is possibly the people who might benefit from an initiative like this who would be the least likely to try it…

    • Dave the poet 1970 10th October 2021 at 10:49 am

      That is brilliant it should be a thing here I’d love to do it

    • Reverend Nick 10th October 2021 at 11:59 am

      It’s a good idea in principle and I’ll make the assumption that the Danes aren’t just letting anybody volunteer to do it – otherwise it’s simply a magnet for individuals who like the sound of their own voice and frequently treat themselves to it.

      Before lockdown I was invited to speak (briefly) to a retired people’s group. Some of the other people who got up, could only and would only speak about their subject with themselves as the central narrative – where naturally they played role of; I know everything, I was right all the time, and supposedly off-the-cuff witticisms that you know they’d been rehearsing for three weeks.

      Over here social services run a befriending service for elderly people on their own, not enough money and not enough people to do it but again a good idea in principle – the other side of the coin is similar to the above paragraph in that there many elderly people who don’t want companionship as such – more a case of an obedient audience to listen to their monologue on why everything is wrong and how it was so much better years ago. The listener is expected to nod sagely and occasionally interject “You’re absolutely right!” from time to time.

      • Debskidoo Carmarthenshire 10th October 2021 at 12:52 pm

        MIND have a befriending service too 👍

      • min 10th October 2021 at 7:11 pm

        Nick, does it really matter if “anyone can do it”? Like a book, if they don’t appeal to listeners, they won’t be borrowed? And that way, too, no-one is excluded.

        • Reverend Nick 11th October 2021 at 11:35 am

          Can only speak for myself on this, but yes it matters to me.

          It’s the difference between hearing a life story told with simple dignity, which will make you stop and think, and perhaps encourage a change of outlook – or someone showboating their own version of the Four Yorkshiremen Sketch, which may make you somewhat less sympathetic and less inclined to hear another life story.

        • min 11th October 2021 at 7:42 pm

          Not sure you get what I’m saying – you don’t have to listen to the showboaters, they’re the book in the library that you bypass. Also what about the people who want to listen to them?

    • aligil 10th October 2021 at 12:15 pm

      Thank goodness not all older people are as disconsolate and egocentrical as in the picture you paint Reverend Nick!

      • Reverend Nick 10th October 2021 at 4:42 pm

        Well yes, it is good that not everyone is like that – but we can all think of examples of individuals of who fit the bill, whether from family, friends or work colleagues – the latter shows it’s not an age thing. We need to be asking why some people aren’t interested in anything outside of their own sphere. A separate post in itself perhaps.

        • aligil 10th October 2021 at 5:19 pm

          Indeed yes, I think, regretably, that some folk just are self-centred, regardless of age.

          I imagine it could be an interesting thread; from a solipsistic perspective to “Why is my husband a selfish so-and-so..?”
          Humans as a species are inheritantly selfish it seems; certainly our society frequently encourges and rewards people who are self-seeking. ‘Our’ despicable government are a prime example of that.
          Now there’s a third discussion to be had?

          But maybe not. I think I will stick to trying to be one of and looking for the goodly folk. ☺

    • GreginYorkshire 10th October 2021 at 12:15 pm

      Wonderful idea. People would have a choice of person and their subject area. It can be real lifeline for people who may otherwise never talk with anyone from one day to the next.

    • Brighton Belle 10th October 2021 at 1:38 pm

      Take me more than 30 minutes with my life story….More like War and Peace

    • Linde 10th October 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Dear Debskidoo, what a brilliant idea! I hadn’t heard of it before, so am surprised people are actually still listening(Hopefully) to others!
      My late husband and I used to always enjoy talking to a variety of people on our train journeys to and from Austria. The minute details and unusual circumstances made these trips truly memorable. We heard about family life behind the Iron Curtain, life in the mountains of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, and so on. I still think we can all learn from one another, how to cope with grief, illness, homesickness, personal tragedy and more. Thank you for pointing this scheme out to us, I shall investigate further! All the best, Linde

    • Paul_ 10th October 2021 at 11:36 pm

      Do you get a fine if you forget to take them back..?! 😊

    • AdrianSF 11th October 2021 at 10:06 am

      That actually sounds like a brilliant idea !

    • Reverend Nick 11th October 2021 at 11:58 am

      It occurs to me that this service could be incorporated into HR training in the workplace – where many HR personnel (not all, but many!) tend to have a prepackaged idea of what a potential employee should look and be like, with little room for manoeuvre towards people who are different.

      I can evidence this by a talk a gave for the the local authority a few years ago about Sophie Lancaster – the goth girl who was kicked to death by thugs because she looked different. I had her Mum’s permission to do this by the way. I showed them them before and after pictures and naturally enough they were shocked and found it very upsetting. I then added that if Sophie had finished her studies she would have been looking into the possibility of doing social work.
      ‘I want you to be honest,” I said, “Would you give her a job as a social worker having seen her alternative looking appearance?”
      No prizes for guessing the answer was no. The explanation was that they have to appoint people on the basis of that tax payers want to see. “I’m a tax-payer,” I pointed out to them. “And I want to see more people like Sophie.” I would have liked to have added “instead of a suit full of bugger-all’ but of course, you’re not there to play to the gallery but try and change hearts and minds.

    • hell.fenn 11th October 2021 at 12:50 pm

      Could be good but it could be terrrible.

    • medusaman123 11th October 2021 at 8:24 pm

      I am an open book. I can talk about anything but no one.. Regards Mick from England x

    • EricaLovesFlowers 11th October 2021 at 9:03 pm

      What a fabulous idea!😊🌸