Youth Audit Shirley Library

For the full report, click on this link below:
ReVision Youth Friendly Spaces Audit Report | Shirley Library (2021)

1. Executive Summary (Page 3)
This report is based on data gathered on the 7th of July 2021 and 10th July 2021 at Shirley Library. Using the Youth Relevant Design Check Card and Youth Friendly Spaces Audit, young people audited the Shirley Library on its safety, appeal, accessibility, resourcing, and youth-friendliness.

The Shirley Library performed below average, in the Youth Friendly Spaces Audit, scoring a total of 64.5% and producing a Net Promoter Score of -50.

The youth auditors really liked how the space was calm and somewhere they could come and relax in. The young people also liked how friendly the staff were.
The areas young people thought could be improved and gave feedback on was the vibrancy and appeal of the space, the youth corner itself, how they felt generally in the space, and the resourcing.

The youth space was a key area the young people identified as needing change. Specifically, they wanted to see this space moved to a different area of the library. They felt like the youth space was an afterthought lacking youth input. Some other suggestions were implementing comfier chairs and beanbags.
They wanted to see more artwork, colour, culture and vibrancy around the library.
Young people wanted to feel included in decision making on clubs and activities for them and suggested providing different avenues for them to continue to do this. With this, they also wished to see a greater circulation of young adult books and the Shirley Library to be better resourced with activities and clubs for them.

4.2.3 What would you change about this space that is easy to do? (Page 11)
Almost all of the youth auditors thought that the Shirley Library, which they feel is currently a blank canvas, would be more youth-friendly if there was more artwork on the walls and around the place.
One auditor even suggested artwork on the outside of the building, which you would be able to see as you approach the Shirley Library.
They felt that this would be an easy change to make and suggested engaging with local youth to collaborate with famous artists to create new pieces for the Library.
Another young person acknowledged that relaxing music could make the environment more ambient.
Some other simple changes suggested were, free water, more charging ports, an Xbox in the youth space and a little garden.

4.2.4 What would you change about this space if you could change anything? (Page 11)
A common theme was that young people would really love to see some more activities for youth.
Young people don’t want to have a space that is at the back corner of the library.
A young person suggested that they would change the layout to be more obvious where the youth space was and would make it larger.
Another auditor really wanted to have a space that was at the heart of the library and was slightly removed at the same time.
Young people were also perplexed as to why the PlayStation was right next to the children’s books and felt that the PlayStation along with the accompanying bean bags should be moved into the young adult area.
Another common recommendation that young people felt would make the place livelier would be to add more plants and greenery.
Not only would this create a ‘better vibe’ as one auditor said, but the young people felt that it would make the Shirley Library feel even more homely.

4.3.1 Safety (Page 12)
When asked whether the Shirley Library felt like a safe place, one young person said, “it can be a safe place if you need to get away from stuff and read a book.”
Young people generally felt safe arriving at the Shirley Library as many were familiar with the route to get there; it was only when they had to leave when it was dark that they felt unsafe.
One young person expressed that they felt safe as a whole because they had a car and a license and had done army training so didn’t really have a problem with safety.
However, everyone else who left either by public transport or foot/bike expressed feeling unsafe.
A couple of young people highlighted how dark the mall and library car park were and this increased how unsafe they felt leaving the Library.
On a positive note though, the young people highlighted that the librarians were always very friendly and that they felt comfortable to approach them if they ever felt unsafe and/or needed to express concern.

4.3.2 Appeal (Page 12)
During the focus groups, the young people expressed that they liked coming to the library as it was close to places that they were familiar with and usually went to such as the Palms Mall, school and home.
Another thing that the young people expressed was that it was a great place to come and experience some peace and downtime.
One young person said that they liked to come to the Shirley Library as they didn’t have many friends to hang out with on the weekend and it was close to their house.
Although some young people expressed positive things about the appeal of the Library, some auditors felt that the youth area was uninviting and made them feel closed off from others in the Library.

4.3.3 Accessibility (Page 13)
The young people expressed that getting to and from the library by public transport was relatively easy.
However, they felt that the Library could be better sign posted.
For those that biked, the consensus was that there weren’t enough bike stands (only one) and the bike stands that were present were not modern bike stands that ensure your bike is safer.
The young people felt that there could be more toilets available for users in the library and also some gender neutral options that weren’t the disabled toilets.
They would recommend providing more toilets and more inclusive options like at Tūranga Library.

4.3.4 Well-Resourced (Page 14)
Young people expressed that they felt that there was good information about other services, however, felt that information about the ‘youth clubs’ could be better advertised and more easily accessible.
The young people said that the staff were friendly, nice and that they are “not scary and won’t bite.”
Young people liked that there were computers available and that there was a PlayStation that anyone could use.
Some of the young people suggested that there could be more activities for young people, such as, colouring, crafts, sing star, board games, and more events.
A simple suggestion was to make a registration form, so if you wanted to create a club or join one you could register to be involved.
The suggestion of more chairs and comfy places to sit such as more bean bags etc. was also raised again within this discussion around resourcing.
This highlights a strong consensus that the Shirley Library should have more places for both young people and all library users to sit.
In terms of books, young people were in agreement that there needed to be more new books circulating in from other libraries and more books for them as young adults.

4.3.5 Youth-Friendly (Page 14 & 15)
Young people found that the Shirley Library did not feel youth friendly or youthful.
One young person said that “it feels like an adult space and the youth space feels like an afterthought.”
Whereas another young person explained that after school it sometimes felt youthful with all the students from schools however it didn’t on the weekend as there were far fewer young people.
When asked if the space reflected their culture many of the young people said that it doesn’t feel multicultural and that they would love to see more Te Ao Māori and Te Reo Māori around the space.

5. Recommendations (Page 16 & 17)
5.1 Rethink the location of the current youth space
The average net promoter score is low and suggested that young people would not recommend the space to others.
5.2 Increase resourcing (clubs, books, activities)
We would recommend that the library considers increasing the resources that they currently offer.
The rangatahi would like to see an increase in the circulation of young adult books.
The recommendation, therefore, is that the Shirley Library increase the number of Young Adults books available or provide clearer information on how to request books.
Rangatahi also wanted to see a more diverse range of clubs available and to be included in the running of these clubs.
It is also recommended that there are opportunities for young people to easily make new suggestions of clubs they would like to see offered or run themselves.
5.3 Make the space more vibrant
Young people want to feel connected and valued in the Shirley Library.
They currently feel that the library is lacking colour and vibrancy.
Plants and greenery would also brighten up the space and make it more homely and comfortable which is an easy implementation.
5.4 Include young people in processes and decisions
A key thing that was raised was young people felt like they didn’t know how to have their say on the youth space, activities and the library in general.
5.5 Increase safety
We recommend considering how to provide better lighting options in the carpark and surrounding areas of the library so that young people and users feel safe leaving and entering the library.
Another recommendation would be providing new bike stands and better signage on the carpark and road facing fronts of the Library.