Measuring children and youth participation and inclusion - Ladders of participation in library

Ulla Pötsönen


Ladders of participation is a tool to evaluate the amount of children/youth participation. It is mostly used within environmental and infrastructural development, community planning and youth work, but the method is useful and applicable also in libraries. The ladder method is invented and developed by Roger Hart1 and Sherry R. Arnstein2. In Finland a simplified model is developed by Liisa Horelli3. The ladders range from total nonexistence of participation to final ladder, where youth and adults act as total equals. The ladders are steps from nonparticipation via participation to inclusion. Libraries can use the ladders to view existing or planned activities and measure them against the tool. Simple visual appearance of the tool makes it easy, appealing and attracting to use both in evaluation and proactive planning. The simple image of ladders inspires to start a conversation within the library. The ladders act as a support base for ideas and a tool for developing processes together with children and youth in area, community and library.

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