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Public libraries and young people--progress and potential.

Held in Logan City Queensland 11-12 June 2010, 12 to 24s@your public library in Australia and New Zealand was the fifth annual Auslib transTasman conference for public libraries.

In the context of the growing concern that young people may not be welcomed or well served by public libraries and their staff, the conference was intended for library managers, public librarians and other practitioners seeking to improve public libraries for, and engagement with, young people. The conference also aimed to provide a knowledge base for advocacy towards a greater political awareness of the community's return on investment in public libraries able to attract and support well the diverse needs of young people--to whom the public library may well be their third, or even second, place after home, school or work.

The published proceedings of the conference (see for details) have a similar aim, to be a useful and enduring resource for public libraries in identifying and developing programs and support for young people, and as an advocacy tool for better funding and staffing of those programs in the years ahead. Those years hold real promise for a strong focus on public libraries and young people, as governments become better informed about the return on investment in engaging with them and their aspirations.

Included in the proceedings are the 20 papers delivered at the conference by Australian, New Zealand and international speakers. They contain information, issues, and many ideas for public libraries to consider in reaching out to young people. Also included are edited transcripts of two panel sessions, and four targeted recommendations from the delegates. These recommendations were

1 That the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) adapt and endorse the YALSA Young adults deserve the best competencies for librarians serving young adults to suit the local environment as recommended skills for Australian and New Zealand library staff working with youth.

2 That the ALIA Library stars: best of the best program encourage entries from libraries providing innovative services for youth.

3 That ALIA continue to support the Bess Thomas Award which encourages and supports the development of innovative and significant public library services to young people.

4 That the Western Australian Finding MY Place program becomes a nationwide program in Australia (and also be sent to LIANZA for possible referral to the New Zealand government).

This issue of Aplis contains a selection of papers from the 12 to 24s conference. If you only have time to read one of those papers now, look at Natasha Griggs' Finding My Place: a Western Australian public library program with national potential for at risk youth--and consider if your library could trial such a valuable low cost program, without waiting for any national dollars which might eventuate.

Alan Bundy


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Article Details
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Author:Bundy, Alan
Publication:Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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