Library’s Teen Space aims to be ‘welcoming’

Newly appointed youth engagement co-ordinator Peone Logo (right) joins (from left) City Libraries...
Newly appointed youth engagement co-ordinator Peone Logo (right) joins (from left) City Libraries manager Kathy Aloniu and youth supervisor Lynn Vare in the Teen Space at Dunedin City Library to discuss exciting new ideas for youth-focused activities and programmes. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
The Teen Space at Dunedin City Library will become a hub for activities and programmes aimed at encouraging and supporting young people.

Existing library staff member Peone Logo has been appointed youth engagement co-ordinator at the library, one of four new roles established with funding from the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme.

Ms Logo will be based in the Teen Space and will put her energies into programmes such as Hauora Rapare — Wellbeing Thursdays, the Rainbow book club and more.

Tutors, speakers and presenters will also be invited in to help young people with study, mental health, wellbeing and any other areas where support is needed.

"Our aim is to encourage young people to see the library as a safe and welcoming place where they can gather and connect with each other," Ms Logo said.

"It is so important that young people have a place to gather where they don’t have to buy anything or be anything in particular.

"The library is a great equaliser, and a place where diversity is safe and celebrated.

"At the library, there are opportunities to have meaningful conversations, or to be quiet — whatever works best for people," she said.

Ms Logo will also co-ordinate a Maori and Pasifika cadetship programme at the library, which will offer 10 hours of paid work a week for a six-month period.

Cadets would work across a range of library areas, to encourage them towards a future career in libraries, Ms Logo said.

"You can’t be what you can’t see, so having these cadetships will really help to show young people what is possible for them."

City Libraries Youth Services team leader Lynn Vare said Ms Logo would be a great role model for the cadet.

"Peone has been a library person all her life, and she has a fantastic knowledge of reading and books, as well as a background of working with kids," Ms Vare said.

Ms Logo said young people were definitely still interested in reading, but perhaps approached it differently from in the past — reading on their phones or other devices.

"It’s not that young people don’t love to read — they just do it in a different way."

City Libraries manager Kathy Aloniu said the Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted many public programmes at the city’s libraries, but some were starting up again — such as table-top games.

"Peone will be working on planning a range of events and programmes for this year, and hopefully these will become well-established," Ms Aloniu said.

"The ultimate aim is for groups and activities to become self-sustaining."

Ms Logo was "very excited" to embark on her new role, and was keen to hear any ideas for activities and programmes that young people would enjoy.

"The library is not just about books; it is about connection and community," she said.

"It doesn’t matter what you’re into, you will find it at the library."

brenda.harwood@thestar.co.nz

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