Horowhenua Chronicle

Celebratin­g Youth Week

- Pam Coleman Community Engagement Librarian

Youth Week is a nationwide festival of events organised by young New Zealanders to celebrate the talents, passion and success of local young people.

Youth Week recognises the amazing contributi­ons and achievemen­ts of young people in New Zealand. The week inspires us to value, support, and affirm the diversity of young people in our society.

Libraries Horowhenua wants Aotearoa to be a country where young people are vibrant, optimistic and supported. From Monday next week come on into the library and Youth Space and celebrate Youth Week. We have listed a few of the activities in our calendar this week. The theme this year is “Our voices matter, and we deserve to be heard!”

We want to encourage young people to take on challenges, share ideas and focus on the positive aspects of being young. In addition, we recruit young people to work in our libraries to make it an age diverse workplace where each generation brings different skills and talents to the environmen­t. It also helps teens build practical job skills.

Horowhenua Libraries wants to be a welcoming place for young people. As well as our dedicated Youth Space, we have a teen area where young people can read, do their homework and socialise.

It’s also important to us to provide them with a collection which is relevant and diverse. Literature in general has historical­ly shown a lack of diversity. This means that there has been a lack of books with the voice of an author or a character who is a person of colour, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexua­l, disabled, neurodiver­se or anyone in society who is perceived as ‘different’ .There is a renewed awareness for the need for fiction to feature characters that truly represent our diverse communitie­s. It’s amazing that in just a few years, the number of diverse books published has increased so substantia­lly in young adult fiction.

Publishers, editors and readers are championin­g writers who are writing their own experience­s. There is something quite astounding about people finally being able to speak for themselves.

Our non-fiction collection also meets the personal informatio­n needs of the age group. Our young people need opportunit­ies to access such materials that support their personal interests, from learning about relationsh­ips to discoverin­g options for their future career, education or personal growth. Adults are also not always secure in their understand­ing of the changes that take place in the transition from child to young adult so our libraries also provide resources to help with this.

When all of our public libraries are full of those who value young adults, not only does the library thrive but the community, of which young people are part of, thrives as well.

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