UFV Library Seeks ‘Human Books’ For Display And Project

By Anne Russell. Have you ever wondered what your title would be if you were a book? The library at the University of the Fraser Valley Chilliwack campus wants to know.

Pictured at right: Darren Blakeborough

As part of its outreach program, it is looking for “human books” for a display and event. You can nominate yourself or nominate someone else.

“Our mission is to present unique experiences that challenge peoples’ understanding of stereotypes and educate people on diversity,” says Lisa Morry, a UFV library technician and part of the committee planning the project. “Our criteria is that the people in our human library live or work within UFV’s catchment area and that the topics presented or the people involved have some connection to UFV and its objectives.”

Those chosen as human books will be featured in a prominent display in the UFV Chilliwack library, on a poster, and on the library web page.

The library will also host an event in February, at which members of our human library will be invited to speak and to participate in round-table discussions about their experiences.

If you’re intrigued about the idea of sharing your experience and being a human book, apply via the form found here: https://goo.gl/oU7hL6 and return it to the Chilliwack campus library. (If you need help accessing the form, please email lisa.morry@ufv.ca).

Due to capacity limitations, UFV will only be collecting one or a few books on each topic, and as a result, some nominations may be held for future collection.

Two people who have agreed to be part of the Human Library project so far are Venerable Yin Kit (Sister Jessie), a Buddhist nun who teaches meditation to federal inmates, and Darren Blakeborough, a UFV professor from the Social, Cultural, and Media Studies department.

Venerable Yin Kit (Sister Jessie)

Venerable Yin Kit (Sister Jessie)

Sister Jessie, as she’s commonly known, says she bridges Buddhist tradition and modern communications methods to bring her teachings to the people of the Fraser Valley.

“Outwardly, I appear out of time and out of place. As a fully ordained Buddhist nun, I wear long brown robes, and shave my head. I follow teachings that have been passed down from monastic to monastic for over 2500 years, from the original teacher, the Buddha. I have taken a vow of poverty and follow 348 precepts (rules for monastic living). These life choices link me firmly to the past and to time honored traditions most people in the West are unfamiliar with.

“However, I also use an i-phone, use a laptop to check my Facebook account on a daily basis, travel the world continuously to teach and serve, and all my students know how much I enjoy a Dilly Bar on a hot day”.

Blakeborough looks more like a biker than an assistant professor (he is both) and is known for bringing the study of popular subcultures into the academic realm.

“I have a wide array of interests and have a varied personal, as well as academic, background. From heavy metal to aging, from pro wrestling to homelessness, my research covers the gamut and in my estimation anyway, is all important if not for different reasons. I am unaware of anyone that would meet me for the first time and think ‘university prof’ and frankly that works to my advantage as I get to challenge people’s assumptions of the common sense immediately out of the gate.”

If you know of someone who would make a good Human Library participant, or want to nominate yourself, check out the form here: https://goo.gl/oU7hL6. (It’s best to check with the person you nominate before nominating them.)




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