Take a look, it’s in a book, but not just any book, a Moving talking book.
Inside the KLO Middle School on Thursday, students were given the opportunity to check out a Human Library. Volunteers from diverse backgrounds sat around tables talking to students about their lives, as a way to break down stereotypes and foster diversity.
Community member volunteers ranged from World War II Veterans to immigrants from the Multicultural Intercultural Society. There were even Kelowna Secondary Students who were being open books about what it is like to be older and on to the next level.
According to Jackie Lyod, the teacher Librarian at the middle school, the event was created after speaking with the students about who they would be interested in meeting.
“We started calling people in the community, who the students had suggested they were interested in, and we asked if they wanted to volunteer their time. We were lucky that so many people had the time to volunteer.”
Thirty-one volunteers showed up to the event to speak with 192 students, from 10 classes. The teens were divided into small groups and given 15 minutes to “Check Out” a book. This is the first time the middle school has held an event like this, and thanks to the overwhelming response from community members and students, this won’t be the last says Lyod.
“I just love seeing young people engage with adults. Kids hardly talk to adults one on one, so this is a great experience.”
Each student could sign up to listen to three books. One of the most popular books was Douglas McDougall, a World War II Veteran.
His cover might have been a little older and a little worn, but it shows the years it took to fill the pages of his life. With medals on his chest McDougall sat with a number of young boys to tell his tale about being the sole liberator of Schagen, Holland. It was a real page turner.
“When the war was over, the town expected tanks to come in and liberate them. I was looking to go to the town to look for an interpreter. I got on a bicycle and was the first to arrive in the town. Everyone was waiting for the infantry, they had lined the streets with flags and banners. When I showed up they took me to a restaurant and called me their liberator. I was just a boy on a bike, but I was there to say the war was over.”
McDougall was proud as the curious boys looked through the book’s photos and newspaper clippings, it was clear this experience was not just for the students, but also for the story tellers. It’s said that every book just wants to be read, it must be true.
In another corner of the room there was a book about activities; Kelsey Serwa an Olympic freestyle skier spoke to the teens about the impact of playing sports. You could almost feel their dreams begin to take shape.
At another table, youngsters wanted to learn more about pets so they took out a book on the Kelowna SPCA, by Cam Buksa, he explained the importance of the SPCA and its role when it comes to animal cruelty and pet adoption.
Elsewhere, three charismatic girls had a room to themselves to watch a video about gay rights. The video was made during their grade 12 year at Kelowna Secondary School, for the ITU Telecom World 2011 conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
The girls told the middle school students the video was used as a medium to get across the message of acceptance, that homosexuality should be accepted. The KSS students hope the video will go viral and Kelowna will realize it takes a community to make a difference.
Later in the afternoon, students opened many more “Human Books”, here are three examples:
Superintendent Hugh Gloster, on stumbling through life without a plan
Ross Ladell, on working at Disney Online Studios
Karen Chase on Circle Teachings in First Nation communities
The idea of a Human Library was created to reinforce the role of a library as a learning centre, an important place to bring diverse people together and provide social interaction among students and community members.
The living library also showed you can’t judge a book by its cover.
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