The cultural, social and technological opportunities being offered by the planned youth space in the Cultural and Civic Space have sparked excitement among local youth and educators.
Students from the Coffs Harbour Senior College met with members of the BVN Architecture team, including Principal Matthew Blair, Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight and Coffs Harbour City Council staff this week to learn more about the design development of the youth space.
“It was refreshing and sometimes surprising to hear the kinds of things our local young people want from their library,” said Councillor Knight. “They were diverse and inclusive, and gave me a great deal of hope for the future. At the end of the day, this project is for the future of Coffs Harbour. Knowing that we’re creating a space so our young people can have access to the best possible cultural, social and educational resources keeps me inspired and motivated.”
The BVN team showed the students digital sketches of the space and asked for their feedback on furniture and technology, as well as their ideas about how they would use the space if the building was ready for them to walk into that afternoon.
“Overall, I really liked the flexibility and design of the space and I can see how hard the project team has worked to create it,” said Catherine Lagettie, one of the students in attendance on the day. “The project is really exciting for people my age, and is something that Coffs Harbour is missing and really needs.”
Public libraries support educational outcomes for children of all ages, from preschool children learning to love reading, all the way through to teenagers who have much more diverse educational needs.
“It’s important that our local young people have access to a well-designed and resourced public library,” said Cheryl Ward, Coffs Harbour Senior College Creative and Performing Arts teacher and a member of Council’s Cultural Reference Group.
“While a public library offers benefits to every young person, for some, this youth space will be their only opportunity to access the technology and resources needed to learn and grow outside of the school environment.”
Amelia Lipa, BVN Interior Designer for the Cultural and Civic Space project, explained that youth spaces within libraries provide an environment for young people to connect, study, relax, dream, work and hang-out together.
“A dedicated youth space shows teens they are valued by the community and typically leads to a deeper engagement with other areas of the library,” she said. “It’s interesting and surprising for us to hear the insights of young people who have different and new ways of thinking, helping us to develop and create spaces to meet and exceed their requirements.”
Pictured are the students with (at front) Cheryl Ward, Mayor Denise Knight and Ruth Coulter from Council’s Community Programs Section.