08 January, 2008

Young people and public libraries

The Pew Report: How people use the internet, libraries and government agencies when they need help has just been published in the US. The joint study is from the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the University of Illinois.

The most interesting finding of the study and the one that has been picked up by the press is that Gen Y young adults are the heaviest users of public libraries despite the ease with which they can access information from home using the internet. That's especially true for those who had questions about health, job training and government benefits.

Pew's director Lee Rainie explains this surprising finding by suggesting that young adults are the ones likely to have visited libraries as teenagers and seen their transformation into information hubs, with computers and databases alongside shelves of books.

Last year our library service developed a strategic framework for services to young people, in consultation with stakeholders and young people. As a result of this process, we have identifed the main objectives over the next five years are to:

•Provide more services and collections for young people aged 12 – 24

•Develop strategies to break down barriers and ensure we are meeting their needs.

Some of the services that we currently provide are:

•YourTutor.com is an online chat service that provides one-to-one academic support for students in Years 4 -12 in English, Maths and Science

•Get Loud is an annual event at Eltham library featuring local bands

•Finding MyPlace is a 10 week program for students who may be at risk of not completing their schooling and features a weekly workshop to help improve students' sense of self and esteem.

These students were stoked after their martial arts session!

If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we might be better providing services to young people, we'd love to hear from you!

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