Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Manix: A Teen Reading Odyssey

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Manix: A Teen Reading Odyssey

Article excerpt

Manix is an incentive and event based teen reading program run by Manukau Libraries. It has proven successful in attracting teens into Manukau Libraries while promoting literacy amongst this target group, by encouraging reading for recreation and pleasure. Developed out of the Odyssey program (the 2002 finalist in the 3M Award for Innovation in Libraries and adopted by several other New Zealand library systems) the Manix program continues to be offered annually since its inception in 2007. Edited version of a paper presented at '12 to 24s @ your public library in Australia and New Zealand conference' Qld 11-12 June 2010.

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Manix is a teen reading program developed, managed and fully funded by Manukau Public Libraries. It is open to all 12 to 18 year olds who live in Manukau, is free to join and offers teenagers a unique fun way to interact with books, information technology, their local library and library staff.

It is not just about reading--it is about developing literacy, building relationships between teenagers and library staff, and with teens in their own neighbourhoods and schools.

What does it mean?

Manix is a teen slang term for Manukau, New Zealand's third largest city, (1) commonly referred to as South Auckland. It was selected as the name for the program because we wanted to offer something that adolescents in Manukau would identify with and that embraces their place in the world.

Manukau city--diverse and young

With a population of approximately 335,000 Manukau is New Zealand's fastest growing city. It is a young city with 42 per cent of its population under 25 years of age of which 35 per cent are under the age of 20 and 26 per cent under 15 years of age. (2) It is home to more than 165 different ethnic groups, with the largest Maori and Pacific communities in New Zealand. (3) 39 per cent of Manuaku residents speak two or more languages, with Samoan being the most widely spoken after English. (4)

Geographically, Manukau can be split into two broad areas, eastern and western. The eastern area can be considered the more affluent area. It has Manukau's only private school and all high schools in this part of the region are decile 8 or higher. In comparison, all high schools in the western side of the city are decile 3 or below. (5) Students from low socioeconomic communities (low deciles) face more barriers to learning than students from high socioeconomic (high deciles) communities. (6) Thus the diversity of abilities, attitudes, ethnicities, socioeconomic factors coupled with a high youth population means that Manukau Libraries has always understood there is a great social need to provide a reading program, services and events for teens that are able to cross barriers and create a level field of opportunity for all. For the Manukau Libraries learning & literacy coordinator, who recreates the Manix challenge every year, this means weaving a program that caters for everyone and takes into account all of the differences mentioned above.

Manukau Libraries

Manukau Libraries has 13 community public libraries, 1 research library and a mobile library. There is no central library. It has been progressive in trying to develop services and programs to teen audiences, and has employed youth librarians (a similar role to that of the children's librarians) since 2007. It started with two youth librarians at two community library sites deemed high need in late 2007. Over the past three years another three youth librarian positions have been created. In libraries without youth librarians, there are library assistants with young adult responsibilities.

Manix history

Manix was born from the success of the Odyssey, which was another teen reading program that originated at Manukau Libraries and was sold throughout New Zealand in the early 2000s. It is a practical program that could be adapted and utilised by any public or school library system, and has gone from strength to strength over the four years it has been offered. …

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