Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Human Library

Today is going to be a very exciting day. This afternoon I will be participating in the Human Library at Mount St Vincent University here in Halifax from 3 until 7:30. Why is this exciting? Because I will be participating in this event as a 'book'. Woah...I guess I should start by explaining to you what exactly a Human Library is.

The Human Library started as a social project in Denmark and has since grown in popularity and is now an event put on and sponsored by many academia and educational institutions around the globe. The idea behind the Human Library is not overly complex. The first step in the process is to find a suitable location. Once this has been established, some minor care is taken to decorate the room or building in the design of a library (obtaining the use of an actual library would make this part much easier. In the case of the event I am taking part in, it is being held at the Mount St Vincent University Library.).

Once you have your library, the next obvious step is to fill it with books. In this case, the books are actual people. Individuals who possess a specialized training or experience in a particular subject are recruited to attend the event as books. As books, they will be available throughout the event for people to sit with them and read. Of course there will be no actual reading. The book will actually talk to you, engage you and answer your questions when you ask.

The final piece to this event is you, the reader. Once a library has been established and has been filled with books, all that is left is for people like you to come and open a book. From the perspective of a reader, this sort of reading has an advantage over the traditional sense of picking up an actual book with words. Why? Because when a reader is face to face with a book, it is able to instantly answer any questions about the subject without any waiting or searching.

So now that you have a basic idea of what a Human Library is and what the difference is between a book and a reader I will now explain to you my excitement. I am excited, as I said, because I am a book. What is the topic of my book? Addiction. Any time I get an opportunity to talk about my addiction with anyone, I do because you never know when something you say is going to help someone in someway; or even give them the push they need to seek help. To be given a stage where this is the entire focus of energies; to be presented with people who are seeking out the information I have to give and are therefore as eager to hear as I am to speak; to have a moment where I can shine a light of hope into an abyss of darkness; who wouldn't be excited?

So this afternoon I will be jumping on the bus (hooray for the end of the transit strike!) and riding the transit (free! Thanks for the PR campaign Metro Transit.) out to the University for 3:00pm. I will become a book when I enter and I will sit at a table and await you; or you; or you; or maybe even you: the reader. I will wait until someone approaches me to read and I will do what I do best: share information in the hopes of making someone's life better.

My addiction and the struggle to overcome it was one of the most difficult times in my life. Much of it was filled with anger, resentment, terrible choices and especially depression. To be able to use such a terrible and destructive phase of my life and have the ability to turn it around to use it as a tool to help pull others out of that abyss...well that...that is the greatest reward and homage I can pay to those who went through my addiction with me and helped me overcome it (myself included). Because of them I now have an opportunity to offer others what I felt I had lost: Hope

I hope I will see you there.