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A library that lends human books

The Human Library in Copenhagen. Camille Bas-Wohlert/AFP/Getty Images

At the Human Library in Copenhagen, the books are “flesh and blood”, says Claire Bates in the BBC’s People Fixing the World podcast. Rather than ink and paper, each “open book” is someone who has faced prejudice in their lives. Visitors get to talk to them for half an hour about whatever they want.

“The aim of these face-to-face chats is to break down our assumptions and prejudices,” says Ronni Abergel, who opened the library in 2014. The “titles”, or volunteers, are posted on a blackboard by a librarian, and vary daily: “Muslim”; “Giving up a child for adoption”; “Polyamorous”.

There are now similar “book depots” in more than 80 countries. “I’m not out to change the world in a 30-minute reading,” says “Gay”. “If I can get them to go away with a little food for thought for a conversation with a friend later, I consider that a win.”

Listen to the podcast here.