A chief librarian has introduced a novel new lending policy in the Dutch town of Almelo:
Krol has introduced a scheme to “lend out”, for 45 minutes at a time, people from minority groups, to discover more about their lives. So far on the books are Gypsies, gay men, asylum-seekers, lesbians, non-criminal drug addicts, Muslims, the handicapped and someone living on benefits in poverty. Krol is looking to add Islamic women in full burka and people who are HIV-positive. All will be available, subject to other commitments, to discuss their lives and beliefs over a coffee in the library’s café.
Some items of stock have been more in demand than others:
“The most popular person to lend has been a Turkish gay guy,” Krol said, sounding amused. “He’s nice. Very good-looking. Young. He’s been on television a lot. We’ve had lots of reservations for him, from, erm, men.”