WILLAGEE library will continue to shut early, following a spate of anti-social incidents involving local youths and schoolies.
Melville council CEO Shayne Silcox says the library, now closing 3pm weekdays, won’t return to normal opening hours till January 4.
“We are pleased to report the library has not experienced any more anti-social behaviour since putting the earlier closing time in place,” he says.
“While this incident has been unfortunate, the city is working with the community and key agencies to ensure users can once again access Willagee library and enjoy all the benefits the facility brings to the local community. We look forward to reopening as usual.”
Willagee Alive member Brenda Pittman says her group plans to hold more after school “drop-ins” at the community centre next to the library.
“Because of family circumstances a lot of kids don’t want to go home after school, so hopefully these extra drop ins at the community centre will give them a place to go, rather than hanging outside the library and the local shops,” she says.
“At the start, kids have to sign a good behaviour sheet and if they don’t abide by it, they are asked to leave.
“This means the kids have to take ownership of their actions and are responsible for what they do.
“We have youth workers who supervise activities, including basketball, hip hop, dance, football and rap.”
Ms Pittman claims some parents use the library as free day care.
Willagee Labor MP Peter Tinley wants the Hilton PCYC to receive more funds, to open satellite PCYCs in Willagee and other nearby suburbs.
“There’s lots of room down here for the PCYC to set up shop and engage with young people in the neighbourhood,” he says.
“These organisations not only provide recreation, but also do training and provide kids with a sense of purpose and direction.
“A key aspect is that young people’s first engagement with police is a positive one in a relaxed environment.”
“Midnight basketball in the car park outside the library would be good too.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK