#HACK to attract young library users in Belgium

Roeselare, Belgium

Challenge team: Learning Centre ARhus and #HACK

Summary: Young people from underrepresented communities are shaping the future of ARhus, an open knowledge centre library in the Belgian city of Roeselare, through this engaging #HACK initiative.

In 2019, ARhus – an open knowledge centre library in the Belgian city of Roeselare – rolled out a pilot project for young people called #HACK. Based on the needs expressed by young people themselves, several #HACK programmes were launched on topics including music and fashion. 

With the help of the challenge team, the next phase of this project is for the young people who use #HACK to shape its future – with involvement in every aspect of decision making, budget management and activity planning. Every week four or more community meetings have been taking place, led by a group of talented “Local Heroes” aged 16-24 with a range of diverse skills from music producers to graphic designers. 

Dozens of young people have been involved in the #HACK initiative, many from unrepresented communities – including one 16-year-old Local Hero, who had the opportunity to take part in a Europe Challenge meeting in Milan. 

After the pilot phase, the challenge now is to consolidate #HACK and broaden its reach. A council of Local Heroes will be formed to work with ARhus employees to help make sure the library is a place where young people feel represented and welcome.

“The main goal for ARhus and #HACK is to be and remain relevant as a modern library in the lives of youngsters,” challenge team members said. “That means we have to reform our view on what is important in their lives, what a library means and how to use that potential.”

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.

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