An Aussie Librarian writes:
I was dismayed to read your post ‘Lock the Doors’ regarding the library who have decided to close for part of the day, due to youth violence and inappropriate behaviour. I am glad that the community is taking a role to keep the library open. These types of problems with youth are by no means limited to the USA and we have experienced very similar here in Australia. We have a success story You may want to share with readers of TTW.
One of our public libraries, West Torrens Library Service, recently won an award for Innovation in Libraries with their Youth Strategy program. It’s taken them 2 years to implement and see real change. I hope that even a quick glance over their paper (link below) highlights some interesting and useful ideas. I don’t want to offer this as a ‘solution’ to Maplewood’s problems (or other troubled libraries!) especially as I have only seen their situation based on what I have read. I just thought this might be of interest to library staff who want to find out how other libraries are handling these situations, and want to consider and discuss lots of alternatives, including quite radical ones.
You can read their submission paper here (1698 kb): http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Jim_Crawford_Award_Nomination_2006_-_West_Torrens_-_From_Seige_to_Soujourn.pdf
And incase you are interested, the full list of nominations for the Library Innovation Awards are available here: http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1152 so you can see they were up against some strong competition.
Thanks Aussie for the link. The report outlines what the folks did to work with the young people, establish ground rules and move forward. There are some wonderful illustrations of the signage developed with the librarians and teens as well. It reminds me of the rules of the Library Loft at PLCMC. If your library is dealing with similar issues, this might be good reading for a staff meeting or planning/action group.