Public libraries and young people

Question: Why do young people need a public library when our schools have libraries and they use the internet for research?

Answer: One of the fundamental principles of public libraries is the notion of equity: that all people should have equal and equitable access to knowledge and information regardless of where you fit (or don’t fit) in society.

Most new libraries include a specially designed youth space, because young people use libraries differently than other users. Youth spaces in libraries often feature different types of furniture, the latest in technology and gaming and easy access to the kinds of books which young adults love, like science fiction, fantasy, mystery and graphic novels.

Public libraries provide spaces and programs as well as recreational, digital and technological tools and resources for young people. Importantly, these spaces also have places to study, access to PCs, free Wi-Fi and places to plug in a device. For many young people, a public library is not a not just a ‘nice thing to have’ but an essential service.

In the new central library being designed for the Cultural and Civic Space, the young adult section is located alongside the new digital design studio and maker space. There is a combination of private study spaces and more communal public spaces to hang out, do homework, play games and chat.

We are looking forward to working with teens in the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area to help create a space that fits their brief – after all, young people are the experts on their own needs.

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