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Sunday, 8 September 2013

I Borrowed A Person

'Gosh that's the most interesting and intriguing blog title I have ever seen and I can't wait to read more', I can hear you thinking and saying to your friends in excited raised voices whilst you gather round your laptops/tablets/smart phones in eager anticipation.

I'd better get on with it then. Can you move back a bit while I type? Thanks.

So. Borrowed a person! What's all that about. Has he gone completely conkers?
No I haven't. I did it. It's true. Honest Gov.

I was at The Minories yesterday in Colchester for their TACMEP  festival. A lovely day. Colourful. Vibrant. Lot's of lovely people about. The most gorgeous smell of Eastern food that literally forced me to have some onion bhajis with a tomato sauce. Delicious. There was a delightful display of Bollywood dancing that got the crowd joining in. And coffee and conversation. And much more.

Anways. People borrowing. I'm getting there. Crikey.

Upstairs at the above festival I discovered A Human Library.
Exclamation marks. A what? As I had my library books with me from my visit to Colchester Central Library I just had to find out more. I am a lover of libraries.

Well the Human Library is a library of people that you 'borrow' for 10 minutes or so and listen and talk to about their story. There are some 'book' profiles that you read through, on a board, and then you 'borrow' the one that interests you and you want to read more about. Just like any other library.

I borrowed True North. The story of a lovely lady (who's name I never got to know), who was reading her local paper in New Zealand one morning and came across a job advert, from Essex County Council, for Social Workers. Yes you read that right. Essex County Council advertising for social workers in New Zealand (and apparently Australia).

She had just finished a social work degree. In her forties. Lived in New Zealand all her life. Looking for a new direction.So she applied for, and got, the job. And moved to Essex. This was in 2009. We also talked about her Christian faith and how this had underpinned, and still does, this remarkable move and the good work she now does. I was very enthralled by her as a person and her courage. A truly lovely story. A wonderful book to borrow. In spite of my own spiritual shortcomings I love to hear how someone's faith can inspire and move them to positive, life changing, actions.

What a truly remarkable initiative the Human Library is. I would love to see more of it at various events. maybe even at a library, Where the staff themselves could be human books for a while. I wonder what the overdue fine would be though for not returning a human book on time?

Well that's a little about a lovely day at a lovely venue. If you are ever Colchester way do pop in to The Minories, view some lovely art and have tea/coffee and cake. Go on. You can be assured of a warm welcome.

Also, while I'm here and feeling mischievous, I notice I have started some sentences with So and Anyways. In fact not even sentences. Just the words on their own. And I'm sure I have mis-used, or even not used, an apostrophe and, horror of horrors, put their instead of there. Joy! I hope I have sent any grammar police reading into incandescent rage, splurting (that's not even a word) their Sunday roast across the table and wishing me several lifetimes in hell, proclaiming my misspent yoof as the cause of all the ills in the world.

Nuff said.


  1. Hate to say it but I suggested something similar YEARS ago! No takers then. But we worked with TACMEP to produce a sort of photo diary of Immigrants to Essex and Colchester area. You know the sort of thing - photo with a blurb attached of why that person moved here. A sort of prequel if you like. Glad you had a good day.

  2. "Human library" sounds like a great idea. Sweet story. I can also very much relate to the last paragraph. "Their" They're" "There".......Nuff said