Libraries are treasure chests with deep troves of information about everything imaginable in the world. The art of reading a book may be slowly dying thanks to rapidly withering attention spans and the rapid pace of the Internet, but luckily, it seems like the thirst for knowledge will never cease no matter how advanced technology gets.
The Human Library is a project displaying concrete evidence of that fact thanks to its creative approach to imparting knowledge onto curious minds. It's a pretty simple idea — instead of checking out a book, you check out a person for half an hour to learn about their experiences in a certain field. "Books" include a prostitute, a politician, a funeral director, an olympic athlete and beyond. The idea originated in 2000 in Denmark as a way to reduce youth violence and has popped up in several iterations all over the world since.
And the best part is how these "books" talk back to you.
"Borrowing" a human from the Human Library for a 30-minute conversation is incredibly enlightening and super personal. In addition to their stories being recounted to you directly as opposed to reading them on a generic page, the opportunity exists to ask questions about the content and get immediate answers from the sources themselves.
What started out as a simple pop-up project has also given rise to permanent institutions around the world — the first U.S. Human Library came to the Santa Monica Public Library in 2009.