‘Human books’ are set to tell their stories at the Dawe library in Red Deer

The living library event celebrates International Literacy Day

The ‘books’ will speak on Sept. 7, when the Dawe branch of the Red Deer Public Library celebrates International Literacy Day.

With the tag line: “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the branch will be presenting a “human library” of people from the community, who will have their own engaging stories to tell during an adult-only event that goes from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday.

In the belief that we all carry often inaccurate preconceptions of others — until we meet and begin talking with them, Alla Mysko-Henke, the library’s manager of adult literacy, has invited a dozen volunteers from various backgrounds to relate their life experiences.

“We want to break stereotypes,” she explained.

A German Canadian and a French Canadian will share their perspectives, as well as other speakers from Syria, South Sudan, North Korea, India, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, and Guatemala.

Small groups of listeners will also be able to shift around the Dawe branch to hear from a Canadian who has travelled to every province, lived in all three territories, and will speak about the North, said Mysko-Henke.

Anyone who “reads” four of the human books will be eligible for a prize. “The idea is to have a conversation with someone of a diverse background.”

Red Deer has a broad resource of people with unique experiences, said Mysko-Henke, who believes there’s a compelling immediacy to hearing someone’s story that can’t be duplicated by getting the same information from books.

Other goals are to unite the community through personal connections, and to give Red Deerians a chance to learn something new. Mysko-Henke added, “This is a great way to celebrate International Literacy Day.”

Since war and difficult experiences factor in some of the stories, the event is not appropriate for children. For more information, please call 403-346-2533.


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