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Social Issues
The Human Library: CBC Is Hosting A Cross Canada Event Tomorrow To Fight Prejudice & Break Down Ster
January 25, 2013
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Here's something you might want to be a part of this weekend.

Tomorrow, the CBC - in partnership with the Human Library Organization - is hosting a big one-day event called 'The CBC Human Library.'

The idea is to break down myths and stereotypes by creating conversations between people who might never meet.

Here's how it works.

Volunteers essentially act as human "books" by making themselves available for one-on-one conversations about their lives.

Then, you are designated as a "reader", who signs out a "book" and you get the chance to speak with that person and find out who they are and what their story is.

The volunteers come from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds. But they have one thing in common - an insight into prejudice and stereotyping.

For example, Doreen Demas is offering her story to the project for "readers" in Winnipeg.

Demas, who has a visual impairment, has devoted her life to "working on behalf of and for persons with disabilities on our First Nations communities."

Ro Walker Mills is also sharing his story. At 22, Mills came out as transgendered and began transitioning from female to male.

In Ottawa, Ken is sharing his story as a recovering compulsive gambler. You can sign him out for a one-on-one conversation.

You can listen to some of Ken's story here - how as a child he learned to use gambling as an escape and how an unlikely knock on his door helped him in his recovery.

In Yellowknife, Susan Fitzpatrick is volunteering to be a "book". In her life, she's lived on both a houseboat and in a shack.

She's heard many stereotypes about that type of lifestyle, but says the hard work brought meaning to her.

In all, 26 events are being held at local libraries and cultural centres in 15 cities across the country.

Each location has lined up a unique catalogue of 'books', including noteworthy locals, high-profile spokespeople and CBC stars.

Earlier this week, a number of CBC personalities became a "book" at the Broadcasting Centre in Toronto.

They included Amanda Lang of 'The Lang & O'Leary Exchange' and 'The National'.


Michael Enright, the host of CBC Radio's 'The Sunday Edition'.


Alison Smith, host of 'The World At Six'; the host of 'The Current' Anna Maria Tremonti; and the National's new sports correspondent Peter Armstrong.


"National Human Library Day is about breaking down barriers. It is about having conversations that broaden our understanding of people and our communities, and our country," said Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor-in-chief, CBC News and Centres.

"As the public broadcaster, CBC is the perfect home for those conversations, regardless of where you live in the country."

The CBC Human Library is taking place in St. John's, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Surrey.

To find out more about how to participate, go to You can check out the CBC Human Library's interactive map and sample feature "books" from across the country. will also host a live event online on National Human Library Day to keep the conversation going.

You can be part of it by using the hashtag #CBCHumanLibrary.

The 'Human Library' was created by a group of young people in Copenhagen to fight against prejudice.

They organized the first 'Human Library' at a festival in 2000. Since then, there have been 'Human Libraries' in 27 countries.

CBC is the first broadcaster to be involved as a national media partner.

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