Following the release of the Commissioner’s position brief on the intrinsic value of public libraries, the Campbelltown City Council enlisted the help of their Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) to apply the recommendations that were made.

City of Campbelltown YAC met with Campbelltown Library staff in early March to assess and provide feedback on the ‘youth-friendliness’ of their library’s spaces and services. 

In their review, Campbelltown YAC noted that young people value the space the library provides, particularly for socialising and studying. The YAC also expressed that the ‘study packs’ the library provides for secondary and tertiary students had value too. 

When it came to recommendations for improving the library from young people’s point of view, the YAC Suggested the library provide more food and drink options in and near the library; additional meeting rooms would be helpful; as would privacy in seating areas and at computers; with increased usability of the library’s outdoor spaces the main feedback. The YAC also suggested the library promote its services to young people more, as they felt many in their age group were not aware of the services on offer. 

Campbelltown City Council staff has already implemented some of the recommendations made by the Youth Advisory Committee with others also being explored. 

Many of Campbelltown YAC’s recommendations directly aligned with those made in the Commissioner’s Position Brief on Public Libraries, identified through polling and consulting undertaken by the Commissioner with South Australian children and young people from across the State. 

From these consultations, it was clear that while other public spaces increasingly orient themselves away from children and young people, public libraries provide unique value to children and young people by creating safe and inclusive environments within their communities, without an expectation of spending any money. 

In addition to urging local government to invest in the wellbeing of children and young people through their public libraries, the Commissioner also calls upon the state and Commonwealth governments to invest in libraries as part of their climate and disaster preparedness strategies. 

For Campbelltown, the work of creating a truly youth-friendly library is well underway, and the Commissioner hopes their experience will serve as an example of what listening to young people can achieve.