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Human Library founder Ronni Abergel

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Human Library founder Ronni Abergel 6:03

Nearly 13 years ago, Ronni Abergel and his colleagues sat in their office with a big task — to come up with an event to help mitigate violence stemming from hate and misunderstanding in their community.

The members of the Copenhagen-based group called 'Stop the Violence' wanted to encourage people who otherwise might not meet — the marijuana smoker and the police officer or the Muslim and the Jew, for example — to talk about their lives. They hoped it would help break down myths and stereotypes.

The end result was the Human Library, which debuted in 2000 at the Roskilde Festival, a large European arts and culture event. Abergel said it has now spread to more than 60 countries.

CBC centres across the country, including Hamilton, have partnered with the Human Library organization and local public libraries to hold Human Library events on Saturday Jan. 26.

CBC Hamilton reached Abergel at his hometown in Denmark for a chat about the first Human Library Day in the world.

Listen to the full interview and hear more about how the Human Library idea came about, his thoughts on the international impact and which book in Hamilton's library he would check out.

You can sign out a human book in advance on CBC Hamilton's Human Library site.