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Human Library

Main Stage
Photo: Liesbeth Bernaerts

Stop the Violence (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Presented by the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and grunt gallery

January 18-20, 25-27 + Feb 1-3, 2013 12:00PM – 4:00PM
Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, 3rd floor


Borrow a book, discover a person.

Enter the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch and head up to the third floor where a special PuSh Festival circulation desk will register you with your own Human Library card and offer to lend you one of thirty possible human books. In choosing from titles like “Drag Queen,” “Occupy Activist,” and “Refugee” you’ll sign one out and be connected to the person behind that title. A one-on-one informal conversation will begin and the rest is up to you.

The Human Library initiative is an international phenomenon, started in Copenhagen as a project to fight hate in communities. It is designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. By connecting people who under normal circumstances might not have had a chance to just sit down and talk, the library enables groups to break stereotypes by challenging common prejudices in a positive and humorous manner.

>>A paper book exists in the finite space of printed text and internalized reading. A human book, however, exists in the real four-dimensional scope of human experience. The reader can’t skip bits or neglect their book, a human book requires fixed attention and, through that intimate engagement with another’s story, invites empathy through real human engagement<< Interface

Human Library was started by a group of five individuals who founded the organization Stop The Violence after a brutal attack on a mutual friend. The first Human Library was held in Denmark in 2000 and the concept has since gained huge popularity and momentum. Over the past twelve years in over sixty-five countries, thousands of “human books” have connected with “readers” of all walks of life.


“Books” in the 2013 PuSh Festival Human Library will include:
Female Heavy Equipment Mechanic

CODA: Child of Deaf Adults
Living Large
Queer Islamophobe
Old Queen
Diva Glam vs DTES
Born Again Christian
Coming Out Today
M-F Transgender Poet
Cultural Pirate
Sex Therapist
Kinky Dancer
The Butterfly Boy
Non-Binary Transgender
Brain Injured
Drag Queen
Anti-apathy activist
I abducted her
Recovering hoarder



Attending human library

Human Library is FREE and open to the public, and books are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the performance. Bookings can only be made same-day, and must be done in person at the venue. Up to 10 human books are available at the library at any given time, so only 20 people per hour will be able to be accommodated.

Books are on a rotating schedule and are subject to availability, so please be aware that not every book will be available on every day.

Due to heavy demand for the project please arrive early (1-2 hours) before you expect to “read” your book. Books are checked out on a first come, first served basis starting 15 minutes before human library opens (11:45 Friday/Saturday and 12:15 Sunday).


Supported by the Vancouver Public Library

Human Library is part of the Fiction(s) project supported by the British Columbia Arts Council Innovations Program, Vancouver Foundation, The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation and The Hamber Foundation.

Curator: Dave Deveau
Created by: Ronni Abergel, Dany Abergel, Christoffer Erichsen, Asma Mouna (Stop The Violence)

Duration: 20-30min 


and Patrons