Stories worth borrowing: Come meet some living “books” at the Human Library

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Published on
September 21, 2023
Social services
A blue and green promo card showing details of the event listed in the feature story below. In the top right corner, there is a photo of two of the human books standing next to each other, Javier and Rita.

Feature Story

Ever wanted to read a person like a book? Are you curious to explore the diverse stories and experiences of other members within our community? Now you can! On Wednesday, September 27, between 11 am and 3 pm the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Library invites you to the Main Branch Library to check out the Human Library event.  

What is a Human Library?

Imagine being able to "borrow" people instead of books. At the Human Library, our "books" are residents dedicated to making Ottawa’s communities healthy, safe and inclusive and whose profession is connected to the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan (CSWB Plan)’s six priorities. You can take a “book” out for 20-minutes to learn more about their story, ask questions and learn about the services and programs offered by the City and its community partners which benefit you.

This event was built upon the Caring for the Community travelling photo exhibit you may have seen at your local library branch.

Explore Diverse Perspectives

The Human Library celebrates diversity, inclusivity and solidarity in our community. One of the stories you can read is Javier’s, who is a Community Development Coordinator.

“Some residents may find themselves in vulnerable situations at some point in their lives,” remarks Javier. He works as part of the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Team to promote programs and services in the community. “Through various services and programs, from Employment and Social Services to Children’s Services, they can work on their strengths and move forward. I am fortunate to be part of a large team committed to serving and supporting residents in reaching their goals.” 

Other books include Gelila’s story. Gelila works for Jaku Konbit, a not-for-profit which offers a Black Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program. "A lot of these youth aspire to business, but they struggle to take it to the next level,” said Gelila. “Our entrepreneur program provides them what they need to do so.”

These two stories are just some of the many books that will be available at the Main Branch library next Wednesday. You can see which other books will be present at the event by clicking here.

What is the Community Safety and Well-Being plan?

The City’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is an initiative dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all its residents. Rooted in community collaboration and inclusivity, the plan aims to create a city where everyone feels safe, supported, and empowered to thrive, ensuring that Ottawa remains a vibrant and welcoming community for generations to come.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to learn about gender equity, mental health, gender-based violence prevention and support, discrimination, and many other topics. Mark your calendar for September 20th and be a part of the Human Library experience!

For more information on City programs and services, visit, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram