03 Feb 2014

I had the great pleasure of going up to the University of Essex last week and checked out a man in uniform for half an hour!  No, am not getting slightly risqué, I simply engaged in a rather innovative idea created by the students called ‘A Human Library’.

It’s rather self-explanatory, instead of taking out a book to read, you take out a person.  Many interesting ‘humans’ had already been taken out for study purposes, so the room was full of people in full-flow conversation, creating not quite the Ssssh! effect of a traditional library.

I spotted the wonderful Sgt Lou Middleton and thought it would be very interesting to learn more about him for the afternoon, so off I went with my library card and soon we were both sat on the couch having a good old chinwag.  It turns out that a person can be a very interactive piece of writing!  I learnt lots about his experience as a police officer, how he came to Colchester, Lou the individual and also Colchester’s history, through his eyes.

As in a good piece of copy, there were some immediately obvious key messages that resonated throughout my human book.  The main one being that he clearly loves his community and really enjoys helping others.

I think its without question that we all gain experience as we progress through life and I believe we can learn something new from absolutely everyone we meet.  Some people are an open book, some are harder to read.  But all have their own story to tell.

I tip my hat to the Human Library, for it communicates very effectively how we sterotype and often have prejudice through judging a book by its cover and it also promotes one of the most important message we can all learn.  The infinite benefit of listening to others.