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Santa Monica library lets public check out walking, talking sources

April 14, 2009 | 12:56 pm

Tired of books? Then consult a living, breathing source.

On Saturday, the Santa Monica Public Library's Living Library Project will feature "a Mormon, an animal rights activist, a police detective, a fat activist, a feminist, a married Jewish lesbian mom, a little person and an ex-gang member," among others. Members of the public will be able to "check out" the sources for  30-minute conversations.  

Rachel Foyt, the library's administrative analyst (and self-avowed "book-cart drill team world champion"), said in a release that the event provides an opportunity for people who have special interests, beliefs or experiences to share their personal stories with interested citizens. Using the library vernacular, the human references will be called "books" and the patrons will be called "readers."

This is a reprise of an event the library held in October 2008 which was the first of its kind nationwide.

No library card is required. Reservations for the sources open at 10 a.m., with half-hour conversations running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the main branch, located at 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

Foyt said "readers" will be responsible for returning "books" in the "same mental and physical condition as borrowed." "It is forbidden to cause damage to the book, tear out or bend pages, get food or drink spilled over the book or hurt her or his dignity in any other way."

-- Martha Groves