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Canadian Library Is Loaning Out Humans As Reference Material
by Jamie Frevele | 3:28 pm, August 19th, 2011
Taking a cue from 1994 children’s live-action/animated movies (or just The Pagemaster), a library in Surrey, British Columbia plans to lend out humans boasting deep knowledge of various subjects, giving library-goers the opportunity to hear what they would have read in a book from an actual person. The goal, according to a library official, is not only to provide a firsthand account of an experience, but also to “break down stereotypes and start discussions.” It’s a humanitarian human-lending operation.
Deputy chief librarian Melanie Houlden says that the plan is to turn the library experience into an interactive one.
“What we’re aiming to do is bring the library to life for people. There are huge repositories of experience and knowledge in their own brains,” she said.
She kind of makes it sound like books are boring, which is a strange thing for a deputy chief librarian to say about books. But we see what she’s getting at here.
The Surrey City Centre Library, which is costing $36 million to build, will be opened at the end of this month. The human-lending has already been instituted at another library in Coquitlam, B.C. to much success. Those humans will be library volunteers, and some have already signed themselves up. Once that system starts, library-goers will be able to sit with the humans they borrow in the library’s cafe and chat over a beverage. They will be able to ask about things from history to medical conditions, but it doesn’t say anything about any fictional books. It is at this point where the Pagemaster similarities end.
Or do they? …