A night at the library: engaging young people

Teenagers were invited to spend a ‘Night in the Library’ to encourage them to get involved in the future of the library.

The challenge 

In the small town of Dogliani in rural Piedmont, in the north west of Italy, there are not many opportunities for young people. The Luigi Einaudi library has traditionally offered community services aimed at older people and it has been losing its younger patrons, particularly those aged 11 to 14.

The 175 early teens in Dogliani need free, social and cultural spaces where they can meet each other and find a space to share their interests, thoughts and develop their own proposals for cultural activities to help them stay connected to the town where they have grown up.

The initiative

Working with its community partner for youth engagement, Cooperative Caracol and the Social Community Theatre Centre, the library is reaching out to local teenagers at the middle school to encourage them to co-design activities for themselves at the library. The aim is to change their perception of the library and help to make it feel like a welcoming place for them.

To launch the initiative, the challenge team organised a unique event for teenagers: ‘A Night in the Library’ – an opportunity for them to spend a night surrounded by 20,000 books and take part in cultural and social activities.

The aim is to then create a board of teenagers to involve them in the development of a communication strategy for the promotion of the library among their peers. Teenagers will be invited to co-create activities to be offered to peers as part of the library’s future cultural programme.

What’s next?

Continuity of the project is crucial to the success of the initiative. It is important for the challenge team to continue to engage with local teenagers and nurture the dialogue and collaboration with them by reinforcing the activities in the library.

New funding is also essential to help support the initiative. The challenge team is looking to develop new partnerships in the local region and new collaborations among local libraries and communities to expand the initiative.

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