It’s a cold day in October when books and librarians meet up in the Reading Garden for the last time in 2022. The trees have started wearing their orange and brown colored coats, while dark grey blankets and cushions are being laid out on the garden’s benches.
“The end of the season is wistful, but comes with a huge sense of pride, both for the volunteers, but also for me.”, says Fanny Timmermann, who has been the lead coordinator for the Reading Garden this season. “For me as the Reading Garden coordinator, every other Sunday has been a day that I looked forward to, especially the diverse conversations with the books, but also with readers.”
The Human Library’s books have been loaned 562 times this season. That number is beyond all expectations and has made a big impression. “This season in the Reading Garden has been impressive and educational. The amount of readers has been impressive for me personally, but also for our books and librarians.” says Fanny Timmermann, “There have been so many things that made an impression on me, for example, the fact that there have been repeat readers throughout the season, who knew who they had read before, and who they wanted to read on the day.”
The bells of Saint Johannes Church across the street chime at 12 pm, and the first few readers start showing up at the counter. There are nine titles to choose from today, including schizophrenia, victim of incest, homeless, post-partum depression, psychic healer, and immigrant. It is soon evident that it is not just Danish readers who have shown up today. “It’s been remarkable how many different nationalities and languages the Reading Garden has seen this year.” the coordinator says, “But mostly, it’s been great to hear the books listing off countries from every continent when they’ve told us about their readings.”
Despite the Danish autumn weather, readers show up at the counter throughout the afternoon; They’ve heard that this is their last chance. “Several of the readers already want to know when we are opening up next season.” tells one of the librarians.
The Reading Garden is set to reopen in the spring of 2023, where there will be ample opportunity for loaning Human Books – Next season, the Garden will be open every Sunday.
And Fanny Timmermann has a piece of advice for next season’s readers: “Some titles can seem tough, and maybe too tough, but if there is just a little bit of curiosity, then pick that book. And if you think you already know everything about a topic, then pick that book anyway – They will most likely tell you something you didn’t know before.”