Check out a book – Discover a life!

After a successful launch last spring, the libraries in Lanark County in partnership with United Way Lanark County are excited for the return of the Human Library! On Saturday, April 18th, all five libraries – the Perth Union Library, Smiths Falls Library, Carleton Place Library, Mississippi Mills Library (both Almonte & Pakenham branches) and Lanark Highlands Library – are offering the opportunity to “check out” a human book and learn about that person’s life. During regular Saturday hours, anyone can reserve a half-hour session and have an open chat with one of the many “books”.

“The Human Library Project has been a great way for the Lanark libraries to come together and work collaboratively”, says Tammy Langstaff, Librarian at the Pakenham Public Library. “Last year was so much fun that we’re excited to participate again this year. We have a great variety of books – there’s definitively something for everyone!”

Interested “readers” can reserve a half-hour time slot with a book of their choice starting on April 6th by visiting Starting March 20th, the website will also provide an overview of the books at the various libraries and bios – be sure to check back often, as other “titles” are added!

Last year’s human books included a master gardener, a film maker, a retired spy, a glass blower, a dairy farmer, a nurse, a WWII codebreaker, an entrepreneur, an adoption researcher, a forensic detective and more! This year’s Human Library Project will feature a mix of returning ‘best sellers’ from last spring and ‘new releases’. The newcomers include a former federal Deputy Minister and Order of Canada recipient, Kundalini yoga instructor, a microbrewer, a non-profit housing guru, a therapy dog owner, a children’s book illustrator, an equality advocate, an award-winning puppeteer, an adventure racer, an Ojibwe lawyer and others.

Originating in Denmark, The Human Library has grown into an internationally recognized event, being held in communities across the globe. The concept is simple: encourage dialogue between people who may not otherwise come into contact, breaking down social barriers and promoting diversity. Anyone with a story is encouraged to participate as a human book. The libraries will host the conversations, as open and respectful spaces within the community where people can listen to stories that help to challenge prejudices and discrimination and promote empathy and understanding.

“There is such a wealth of knowledge right here in our community and we are so thankful for those who shared their time and talent last year”, says Fraser Scantlebury, Executive Director of United Way Lanark County. “We are happy to be involved once again as we thank the community for their support in our 2014 Campaign. Come out on April 18th and meet your neighbours!”

For more information, please go to, contact the United Way Lanark County at 613-253-9074, or contact your local library in Mississippi Mills, Lanark Highlands, Carleton Place, Perth, or Smiths Falls. We hope to see you on April 18th, when you Check out a book – Discover a Life!