Linda Hazzan's "One Day, Five Branches, a Lifetime of Experience"

Imageby Katherine Kasirer

Linda Hazzan, Director, Communications, Programming & Customer Engagement for the Toronto Public Library, gave a lively and interesting presentation describing the TPL’s experience with the one-day Human Library pilot project in 2010.

A well thought out PowerPoint presentation took us through the early planning stages, media relations throughout the process, and concrete descriptions of how the one-day event ran in the five branches across the city. Many anecdotes peppered the presentation, giving us a real sense of the kind of stories that emerge, and how valuable an experience it was for the library patrons who spent time learning about diverse members of the community through the one-on-one interviews.

Linda described it as being at the coolest cocktail party in the world - human "books" ran the gamut from a police officer, to a comedian, to a sex-worker-turned-club-owner. The event was a huge success; she discussed the lessons learned and is happy to share the Toolkit: documents to help you put on your own Human Library event. The TPL is presently recruiting living books for the 2011 Human Library programme.