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A graffiti project in libraries

Urban art exhibited in the space for youth

by Aldo Pirola

In Affori, a district on the outskirts of Milan the “ space for youngsters” was opened in 2006., specially designed for teenagers between 14 and 17 years. In addition to the usual Internet work stations, books, serials and journals undoubtedly of interest to them, dvd and cartoons, special column has been installed for them to listen to selections of pieces from musical cd together with a notice board so that they can put forward new ideas , suggestions and express their complaints In 2007 meetings were programmed under the title” We won’t be ruled and we won’t obey specially devoted to themes about teenagers and in 2008 a special project called “ surfing in the library” about “alternative” forms of different sort of writing has been developed. On that occasion , under the guide of a cartoonist and a Milanese “ graffiti writers” could better clarify their own interests experience , personally, the “ Graffiti Art” The big Graffiti produced by the teenagers is by now part of the decoration of the space provided for them. Until August 2008, 837 teenages hade registered for this course.


Graffiti are regarded in Milan as a very serious social problem. Graffiti writers tend to write and/or paint on any available surface in town sometimes really achieving very arguable results . In some cases their performance can be highly appreciated , but , more often than not, they can be reasonably charged for dirtying buildings, both private and public. Some of these graffiti writers have been arrested and sentenced to pay for the cleaning of the walls they had written on. I am not going to discuss now the artistic side of this activity , but we thought that it might be important for a library on the outskirts of Milan, where social problems frequently have to be dealt with to think of a possible space for the youngster to give vent to their skill in this field , In this case libraries can play a significant role in the delicate game of social balances and assessments.