Human Library Ottawa 2014

Listen to stories from some of the human 'books' on our library shelf. You can check them out at the Human Library
on January 25, 2014. Click on a 'book' below and listen to their stories.

Street Outreach Worker
Urban Inuk
Afghan Interpreter
Living with Schizophrenia
Foster Parent
Muslim Woman

Jaime Koebel grew up immersed in both Otipemisiwak (Métis) and Nehiyaw (Cree) cultures in Lac La Biche, Alberta. The daughter of a Mission School survivor, Jaime has made it her goal to ignite social, political and cultural change through contemporary Indigenous arts. As an artist, she uses ink to draw on animal hides and creates fish scale reditions of floral beadwork. She also teaches Métis dance with her children in their group Jaime & the Jiglets.

Fourteen years ago, Pete Cassidy woke up in a jail cell, charged with murder. He didn't have any memory of the night before because he had been high on drugs. In the end, his case was tossed out of court. While it wound its way through the system Pete went through detox and started his own outreach project called Streetsmarts. He offers clothing and other support to street- and drug-involved people in the Byward Market. He operates his program through Jewish Family Services.

Mosha Folger was born in Iqaliuit, Nunavut to an Inuk mother and American father. He first moved to Ottawa in 1998. In 2009, under the name M.O., he self-released his first hip hop album, Eskimocentricity, along with the follow-up String Games. As the son of a residential school student, Mosha is currently working on Anaana, a personal documentary examining the lasting effects of residential schools.

When she was 15, Maryam Sahar Naqibullah worked in Kandahar as the only female interpretor for foreign NGOs, as well as Canadian and American troops. After the Taliban killed her two best friends and kidnapped her brother, she fled to Ottawa under the Afghan Interpreter Immigration Program. Now the 19-year-old is studying International Relations at Carleton University.

In high school, Shawn Thivierge began experiencing compulsive thoughts and behaviours. After a more major episode, he spent a year-and-a-half living in hospital. He became a dedicated volunteer with the Royal Ottawa's Client Empowerment Council. Now the university and college graduate maintains his health through medication, diet and the Japanese martial art of Aikido.

When Marie Fortier and her husband were transfered to CFB Petawawa from Manitoba, they decided to become foster parents. Over the past 15 years, the now-retired logistics sergeant with the Canadian Armed Forces has cared for close to 40 pre-teen and teenage boys in her home.

As a cartoonist and illustrator Tom Fowler has worked in comics, advertising, and film and game design. He has worked for Disney, Simon & Schuster, Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, MAD, Valiant, Marvel, and DC Comics. His best known comics include "Venom", "Hulk Season One", "Quantum & Woody", the critically acclaimed "Mysterius the Unfathomable" , and the MAD Magazine feature "Monroe". Tom claims to eat only raw meat, stand 13 feet tall, and shoot lasers from his eyes.

Raised in an era of social activism in Philadelphia, Michelle Walrond "Um Nur" Walrond embraced Islam in the late 1960’s. Now this convert and great-grandmother leads poverty-elimination campaigns as the South Ottawa Chair of Ottawa ACORN and the founder of the National Islamic Sisters' Association of Canada.

photo credits: CBC - Julie Delaney, Joanne Steventon, D'Arcy Coulson, Cartoonist - Monique Duguay, Urban Inuk - Rémi Thériault

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

What is the Human Library?

Human Libraries are a chance to talk to people one-on-one about their experiences. This is the third year CBC Ottawa has partnered with The Ottawa Public Library  to hold this one day event.  

The first  Human Library was launched in Denmark in 2000, with the goal of combating violence and creating dialogue between different groups within the community.   It has grown in popularity with dozens of events of its kind taking place around the world every year.  The Ottawa Human Library is one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

Here's how it works:

Come to one of the branches listed below.   Each branch has a list of Human Books available. You, the Reader,  can 'borrow' a book for a 20 minute conversation.  Books are available on a first-come first-served basis.   The event starts at 11, but it's a good idea to arrive a little bit earlier if you have a specific book you want to meet.

Participating library branches:

  • Greenboro, 363 Lorry Greenberg Drive

  • Main, 120 Metcalfe

  • Orléans, 1705 Orléans

  • Carling, 281 Woodroffe

  • Carp, 3911 Carp Road

The Human Library will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on January 25, 2014.

For a full list of books and their locations, visit the Ottawa Public Library’s website.