Curious children and their parents were ready to take out our living books at the launch of the Human Library’s first Children’s Library in Copenhagen on June 23rd.
What will a nine year old ask a blind person about, when invited to ask freely? How will a 6 year old engage in conversation with a person in a wheelchair? That was some of the questions we were eager to learn the answers to, when we introduced the Human Library for Children at Copenhagens Culture House Islands Brygge.
All of our volunteer books were quickly sold out. The young readers aged 6-12 could choose topics such as “the boy who heard voices (Schizophrenia)”, “the lady who cannot see (Blind)”, “the man who cannot walk (disability)”, “the girl who ate away her loneliness (Bulimic), “the girl who did not look like her parents (adopted)” and “the girl who looks like a Ninja (Niqab).
From the first minute questions flew through the air and answers were returned at almost equal pace. Eye to eye or face to face. The blind book with her dog and the child with her parents. Learning about each others perspective.
“How do you pour your coffee, when you can’t see?”, it sounded from the table, while vigorously examining how it feels on the fingers to read Braille.
“How do you wiggle mosquitoes away when you can’t move your arms?” the disabled book was asked while the woman wearing a Niqab did indeed resemble a Ninja, she was frequently asked to explain why she wears religious headdress.
The Human Library for children was an instant hit with books and readers. Finally a library where you do not have to be quiet. Finally a chance to ask freely and nobody will hush you or say that you are not supposed to ask people about these matters, because here you can. Here your questions are welcomed by the people who volunteered to answer them. For young and grown ups, alike.
“I’ve got answers to all my questions – it was so much fun! I want to borrow more books! ”. Said a girl with light in her eyes and a smile on her lips after reading her first book.
This was the first event in a series we are piloting with the City of Copenhagens Culture House at Islands Brygge. The Human Library for Children will return in the fall with more offerings for our youngest readers on our bookshelf.
The first Human Library for Children also got some media attention, as journalists from Denmarks Radio and TV2 Lorry attended the event. Link to article in Danish and the news segment featured on TV2 Lorry: https://www.tv2lorry.dk/artikel/boern-laaner-miriam-med-niqab-og-udforsker-fordomme