Security guard hired for troublesome youths at Wodonga library

A security guard outside the Wodonga library has been employed to control unruly behaviour.
A security guard outside the Wodonga library has been employed to control unruly behaviour.

A SECURITY guard has been stationed outside the Wodonga library to stop groups of young people disrupting and offending passers-by.

That follows reports of swearing, littering, “silly behaviour” and impromptu games of football in the space between the library and The Cube.

The council confirmed yesterday that disruptions in The Cube courtyard and inside the library had led to the move.

But it hopes using a security guard will be a short-term measure.

The guard has been in place this week as a result of behaviour involving a group of up to 20 teenagers over the previous couple of weeks.

Several members of the public complained about the disruptions to staff at the library and The Cube.

Commmunity development director Debra Mudra said the council had built The Cube and the adjacent courtyard for the whole community.

“We wanted to see a whole mix of people using that space — that’s the whole idea of it,” she said.

Ms Mudra said they were trying to work with the teenagers to get across just what was acceptable behaviour in a public space.

The council’s youth services team has also been talking to them about possible solutions, such as youth-tailored activities.

“It would be fair to say that some of them are being very responsive to us and offering us ideas,” Ms Mudra said.

“There certainly are other young people in the group who we perhaps have to keep reminding a bit more than the other ones.

“Council can’t do it alone and so that’s why it’s really important that we’ve engaged other agencies that deal with young people.”

These include youth homelessness support group Junction Support Services and Wodonga police.

“We’ve had disruptive behaviour in the library before, but this has been a bit more sustained,” Ms Mudra said.

“We wanted security there because we’re finding them very, very good with the young people in reminding them of just what is acceptable.

“If there is a little bit of banter between groups then the security is there to calm the situation down a bit.”

Ms Mudra said there were quite definite guidelines available on what constituted respectful behaviour.

“That is, you’re welcome to use the public space but there are other users,” she said.

“Different people have different expectations though on what’s acceptable behaviour.”

Ms Mudra said the council was going to “play it by ear” in deciding on when to remove the security guard.