New kind of story told at North Sarasota library

- Thousands of titles from best-selling authors can be found on the shelves of the North Sarasota Public Library, but the best stories might not come from the pages of books. Inside one of the library's rooms, a new program called Check Out a Person gives library card-holders access to some of the best storytelling around.

"This community is so full of people who have such diverse backgrounds," said the library manager, Mary Brown. 

There's also Robert Rogers. 

"We felt very connected and I feel like it's that desire for connection that we all need," he said. 

The program connects a member of the Newtown community with a library patron. For 20 minutes they sit and talk.

"It was really interesting because it turned into this really poetic, cultural exchange," said Roberts. 

Roberts works with the Friendship Centers. He helps older age groups connect with health and wellness programs. He brought up similar topics, future community programs and discussed everything in between. 

"The opportunity to engage with the people around you is the cornerstone of any healthy and vibrant community," he said. 

Just like checking out a library book, checking out a person allows library users to develop a unique connection with that main character.

"People still want to get together, they still need to share ideas, they still want to be in a group and have a discussion or learn things," said Brown. 

Brown said a short time spent together can lead to a better understanding and a wealth of knowledge. 

"This is just taking it on a small scale and really personalizing it and letting people now get away from the technology so much and get back to engaging with another individual and staying connected," she said. 

For more information on the program contact Sarasota County at 941-861-5000.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this report misidentified Mary Brown's position. This version has been corrected.

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