Talk about doing something no one else is doing! There's a library in Sweden that will be lending out people as well as books this weekend.
That's right, people.
Seems the Malmö public library in Sweden is taking part in the Living Library program, with the simple but lofty goal of giving folks who normally wouldn't talk a chance to do so, and perhaps, in doing so, break down some stereotypes.
The headlines for different media are trying to give a light-hearted spin on this, going for attention-catching headlines like "Here's your chance to borrow a lesbian" or "'Loan a lesbian' idea to promote tolerance". I guess they figure it helps sell the story...
Aside from the giggling-like-silly-schoolboys headline, I think the project is quite worthy.
According to Ananova "It's a good way to challenge stereotypes. Clients can lend out a Muslim woman in a head scarf and ask her the questions they wouldn't dare to if they met on the street."
A little more digging brought up the following:
This is NOT the first time this has been done - it was first introduced at Denmark's Roskilde Festival in 2000, and has since been tried at a Copenhagen library, as well as in Norway, Portugal and Hungary.
The people available to be 'borrowed' include a journalist, an Imam (Muslim Religious leader), a Dane, a homosexual, a Muslim woman, a blind man, an animal rights activist and a member of the Romany, or Gypsy, community.
They'll be able to chat comfortably in the library's outdoor cafe for a 45 - 60 minutes span.
The library will not be charging anyone for the cost of 'borrowing', but I have to wonder what the fines will be if you don't return their person on time?