#HACK to attract young library users
Engaging young people to help shape a library of the future that fits their needs.
In 2019, ARhus – an open knowledge centre library in the Belgian city of Roeselare – rolled out a pilot project involving around 150 young people called #HACK.
#HACK aims to make the ARhus knowledge centre library more relevant to young people. This is a pressing issue because traditional libraries are often perceived as outdated and unappealing to younger generations. The potential beneficiaries of #HACK’s efforts are all young people in the Roeselare area who want to share their knowledge and skills in various areas such as music, fashion, literature and other topics covered by the #HACK programmes.
Through a programme of activities based on their own questions and needs, led by expert professionals and high-potential ‘Local Heroes’, young people provide opportunities for other young people – many of them from underrepresented communities – to learn and develop new skills, share knowledge and engage with their community.
Four or more community meetings have been taking place each week, led by the 12 talented ‘Local Heroes’ aged 16-24, with a range of diverse skills – from music producers to graphic designers.
The challenge now is to consolidate #HACK and broaden its reach. The next phase involves the Local Heroes taking charge of shaping #HACK’s future, with full participation in all aspects of decision-making, budget management and activity planning.
A collaborative model will be created, not only to establish full participation, but also to ensure the library is a place where young people feel represented and welcome.
The challenge team is learning from these experiences to build a democratic way to govern #HACK and to apply those insights on a broader scale to govern ARhus hand in hand with the communities of Roeselare.
Their dream is a thriving ARhus library that serves as an example for other European organisations seeking to engage and empower young people.