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Is the Camino a walking Human Library?

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
VDLP 4/2022
Came across the "Human Library" for the first time - though it has been going for almost 20 years. The idea is that instead of borrowing a book, you borrow a person and have 30 minutes to explore a topic.

You have titles such as Bipolar, unemployed, or refugee - with the idea that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

Something I'll take with me on the next Camino

 
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Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
The Calgary Public Library (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) had a Human Library event about ten years ago. I "borrowed" a young Sikh man who was very open to my questions. We had a lovely half-hour together when I learned all sorts of things I wouldn't have otherwise been aware of, and because it was "live" his answers helped me come up with more questions. Absolutely wonderful experience which I would like to repeat with other human "books", and very generous of the young man.
 
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Jeff Robinson

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
As worth talking to? Oh, yes. I even talk to Estate Agents, Politicians, Journalists and other types on the fringes of polite society ;)
Thanks, Tincatinker. But I guess I should have been more specific.
I should have written:
"Corned Beef, is that how you see your fellow human beings?"
 

Rosebud

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Ingles (2016)
Corned beef…..I, too am discovering this movement for the first time. At the young age of 70, my education continues. I will check out the website you mentioned more fully soon.

I like the concept of the Human Library in approaching all people with clear and open eyes. I find that when I, in wonder at the human condition, approach the people I meet with openness and kindness there is so much for me to learn.

I feel that to be nonjudgmental is definitely an art and perhaps, a vocation. I am, and always will be, a student of this art. I am often called upon to “unjudge” due to my lack of knowledge about someone else‘s circumstances. It can be a humbling experience.

As in a library, in the Human Library there are so many ”books”. Yes, we see the ones that you mention who are often unfairly judged. We also see so many others like Healer, Listener, Mentor, Helper. All books have something to teach us. Yours is a worthy goal to take this concept of “not judging a book by its cover“ on any Camino.

Thank you for giving me something new to think about today.
 
The forum is a branch - maybe a mobile one - of the library. :)
It is indeed. When I first learned about the Human Library a few years ago, I immediately thought about the camino and the conversations I've had walking with someone for 30 min or a couple of hours or a full day. I've learned so much over the years. Everybody has a story. The camino is definitely a human library.
 
Past OR future Camino
2017
Thanks, Tincatinker. But I guess I should have been more specific.
I should have written:
"Corned Beef, is that how you see your fellow human beings?"
"Corned Beef" is a commodity - - and possessed of a short period of utility.

A library is the entrance to entirely new worlds of knowledge, thoughts, skills, and attitudes delivering potentially life-changing opportunities to the reader.

So, though I am decidedly asocial, I have never missed the opportunity to listen to someone who really wants to talk to me.

Because they always have a story to tell, time was going by anyway, and they felt better for having talked whether it proved useful to me or not. ("Not" has been a rare occasion.)

IMHO, opening myself to another's "book" does not demean them but often enriches me.

But, perhaps I missed your point as regarding another person as a book worthy of exploration is, in my view, the granting of a very high honor.

B
 
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TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
As someone who works in prisons, this concept speaks to me. To work in as a health care worker in these places requires a non-judgmental heart and one is frequently reminded that we all have different stories.

Sometimes if I have a spare moment, I have the odd chat with my patients. I have learned many things during these chats. Some things are practical, some are hilarious. Some are seriously eye-opening and some are tragic. Often the inmate and I have something in common. Sometimes the topics touch all of these things. Sometimes I learn some things one could only learn in prison.

We are all Human Libraries.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
Came across the "Human Library" for the first time - though it has been going for almost 20 years. The idea is that instead of borrowing a book, you borrow a person and have 30 minutes to explore a topic.

You have titles such as Bipolar, unemployed, or refugee - with the idea that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

Is that how you see your fellow human beings in general?

It seems as if Jeff Robinson seems to be concerned with the idea that Corned Beef sees his fellow human beings as objects that can be treated as such. If I am misunderstanding your response, Jeff, feel free to correct me. In that case, I apologize for misconstruing you. Certainly, it is one way to react, but I don't think it is necessarily the most charitable way to approach what has been offered.

I admit that I myself have used the expression "You shouldn't judge a book by its cover" in the context of my fellow human beings in general. And I think it is a lesson that many of us have taken from our Caminos. When it comes to people, appearances can be misleading and one's first impressions are mistaken. We often find we have been too judgmental and not sufficiently understanding (or aware) of where people are coming from. Having conversations with people from other walks of life, from other countries, from other professions, religions, social strata, etc. helps us move away from our earlier uninformed judgments. It sounds to me like the "Human Library" program recognizes the same thing and is designed to give people that same opportunity without having to travel so far to get it.

I know that at first glance it can seem to be objectifying. "Borrow a person" indeed! But if the whole purpose is to look past our first impressions, perhaps we need to do that in judging the program as well. Just as with books, we certainly have a lot to learn from each other.
 

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