“What was the first thing you did after you left the Mormon church?” The fresh-faced young woman sitting across from me waits expectantly.
I pause for a moment. “Learned how to play cards.” We both laugh. “My roommates started me off with rummy. I was never able to get the hang of shuffling as fast as they could though.”
We’re sitting at one of the small round tables on the 3rd floor of the Downtown Vancouver Public Library, in view of the regular library patrons. I’m one of thirty human books available as a Zee Zee Theatre production, part of the annual PUSH International Performing Arts Festival. Originating in 2000 in Denmark, by a collective called Stop the Violence, the mandate of the Human Library is to end violence – one person at a time – by narrowing the ideological gaps that divide us.
Titles range from I Abducted Her to Drag King, In Recovery, and Eight-Year-Old Inventor. For a twenty-minute time slot, library users can check out any of the human books that interest them, hear their story, ask questions, and expand their world.