Welcome! This guide is the space to learn an effective model when working with young people (12-25 years of age in Victoria). The model is evidenced based and is called Youth Participation. This guide has been developed with public libraries in mind. There is often low levels of young people engaging with ongoing programs in public libraries. If you are a library staff member that feels a little intimidated by engaging with young people, or you do not know where to start in shifting your relationship with this cohort, this model will assist you to begin engaging strategically.
Welcome! I have worked in Youth Work and Counselling for 13+ years. I have an undergraduate degree in Arts, Youth Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling. I have worked in an array of settings such as local government (youth services and libraries), homelessness, schools, transitional housing, facilitation, planning and research.
I hope that this guide can support you to engage with young people in an ethical and empowering manner. We do not 'manage' young people. We 'celebrate' them. Young people are competent and incredible. Historically and presently, both structures and culture has been developed to disesteem young people. It is time to give the power back to them!
I challenge you to reflect on your perception of young people and consider if you hold bias. I find that asking the question, "do you like Justin Bieber?" an excellent strategy in recognising your own and others unconscious ideals. People often despise him. They state that his behaviour is abhorrent (said nicely). I would reflect on this. This is a young man who dedicated himself to music and busking, from an extremely young age. He shared those talents locally for years, and eventually was discovered.
Along the way his behaviours were at times less than perfect and the media framed these awfully (So glad my most regrettable moments were not shared with the world while I was developing!). However, the 'young person' (Beibs), went inwards and extraordinarily changed his life, his behaviours. His music developed wonderfully with the use of loop pedals and effects. He contributes positively to society both musically and charitably. He is an exceptional young person...something to think about.
NSW State Government, Youth Participation and Inclusion, YouTube, 2019, NSW, viewed May 2020, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45MQFXKcZwo&feature=emb_title>
This video was developed by the NSW Government. It is a succinct explanation of Youth Participation. The video is approximately two minutes. If each library staff member spent two minutes watching this, their understanding of the youth participation framework and their insight into practice ‘trends’ would grow immensely. The video is from a credible source, state government, and contains evidence-based themes. This resource has been included in the guide as it demonstrates insight into the fundamental principles of youth participation. The website that the video pertains to has various relevant resources for further exploration.
You can find additional resources here:
Unsplash (free image)