Yellowknifers will have the opportunity to talk with people from all walks of life on National Human Library Day this Saturday, Jan. 26.

Just like checking out a book, the public can check out a person for a 20-minute one-on-one conversation.

The idea behind the Human Library is to dispel myths and break down stereotypes. It’s a chance for people who may not have met otherwise to have a conversation.

Yellowknife’s Human Library project will include 11 'human books' — people who are available to be signed out for a chat at the local library between noon and 3 p.m.

The Human Library Project

The concept of the Human Library was first launched in Denmark in 2000 as a way to reduce prejudices and encourage understanding.

CBC Ottawa presented the event for the first time last year. It’s now evolved into a Canada-wide CBC initiative called National Human Library Day, with 22 public libraries and two cultural centres across 15 Canadian cities participating.

Visit http://www.cbc.ca/north/community/mt/2013/01/human-library.html for Yellowknife’s registration information, and for bios of the human books.

Here is a preview:


jacq

Jacq Brasseur heads the Yellowknife branch of It Gets Better, an outreach organization for queer youth. (CBC)

Jacq Brasseur is a Yellowknifer who identifies as a woman some days and as a man on others. At the age of 11, Jacq came out to family, friends and Catholic teachers. Jacq says it was an amazing, positive experience. The 20-year-old heads the Yellowknife branch of It Gets Better, an outreach organization for queer youth, and organized the first Pride Parade in the Northwest Territories. 

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Karen Single-Novak is the lead singer of the band Welder's Daughter. (Photo courtesy of Karen Single-Novak)

Karen Single-Novak is the lead singer of Welder's Daughter. Years ago, the band came North for a three-week gig; now they call it home. The wife and mother plays almost every night at Yellowknife's notorious Gold Range bar. Fans from 19-years-old to 90 flock to the 'Strange Range' to hear Welder's Daughter play everything from George Jones to Lady Gaga. Karen says it's not an easy lifestyle, but she has everything she could ever want.

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William Greenland, a Gwich'in man, is committed to breaking stereotypes about aboriginal people and alcohol abuse through his own powerful personal story. (CBC)

William Greenland, a proud Gwich'in man, started drinking alcohol and using drugs at the age of 12. Years later, he preferred drinking Lysol, hairspray and mouthwash. In 2004, William hit rock bottom and hasn't had a drink since. Now, he counsels aboriginal men who are struggling with addictions. He's committed to breaking stereotypes about aboriginal people and alcohol.

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Susan Fitzpatrick has lived on a houseboat and also in a shack in Yellowknife and can break down many of the stereotypes about the people who choose to live that unique lifestyle. (photo courtesy of Susan Fitzpatrick)

What's it really like to live on a houseboat or in a shack? Susan Fitzpatrick will tell you — she's lived in both. Crossing a lake to get to your home can make for a difficult lifestyle and Susan will talk candidly on everything from honey buckets to personal hygiene. She’s heard many stereotypes about houseboaters, but says the hard work brought meaning to her life. Susan also says the sense of community is like none other.