Library Filling a Niche?
That’s right, people.
Seems the Malmö public library in Sweden is taking part in the Living Library program, with the simple but lofty goal of giving folks who normally wouldn’t talk a chance to do so, and perhaps, in doing so, break down some stereotypes.
The headlines for different media are trying to give a light-hearted spin on this, going for attention-catching headlines like “Here’s your chance to borrow a lesbian” or “‘Loan a lesbian’ idea to promote tolerance”. I guess they figure it helps sell the story…
Aside from the giggling-like-silly-schoolboys headline, I think the project is quite worthy.
According to Ananova “It’s a good way to challenge stereotypes. Clients can lend out a Muslim woman in a head scarf and ask her the questions they wouldn’t dare to if they met on the street.”
A little more digging brought up the following:
This is NOT the first time this has been done – it was first introduced at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival in 2000, and has since been tried at a Copenhagen library, as well as in Norway, Portugal and Hungary.
The people available to be ‘borrowed’ include a journalist, an Imam (Muslim Religious leader), a Dane, a homosexual, a Muslim woman, a blind man, an animal rights activist and a member of the Romany, or Gypsy, community.
They’ll be able to chat comfortably in the library’s outdoor cafe for a 45 – 60 minutes span.
The library will not be charging anyone for the cost of ‘borrowing’, but I have to wonder what the fines will be if you don’t return their person on time?