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17 Jun 2020

Director of National Library: Indonesia can Rise Up through Literacy

Medan Merdeka Selatan, Jakarta – Director of National Library of Indonesia Muhammad Syarif Bando stated that Indonesia could rise from Covid-19 pandemic through literacy. Through a social inclusion-based library transformation programme, National Library has succeeded in reaching many villages to improve the level of community life through literacy. This was conveyed by Syarif Bando when he was a speaker at "Rise Up from the Pandemic with Literacy" webinar broadcasted on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 via video teleconference.

Syarif Bando explained that currently, the problem is the gap in access to reading material that is not evenly distributed. In fact, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stipulates that every individual has the right to get access to reading at least three new books per person every year. Even in Europe and America an average of 20 new books per person every year.

In accordance with the four levels of literacy promoted by National Library, adequate literacy will lead to the creation of a prosperous society. First, literacy is the ability to collect reading material sources and therefore library is present. National Library’s paradigm is that libraries reach the communities, so all books have to be digitised and everyone can read. Second, literacy is the ability to understand what is implied from the expressed. Then, the third, literacy is the ability to express new ideas, new theories, new creativity, and new innovations. Then, literacy is the ability to create quality goods and services.

The role of libraries in empowering the communities, especially villages, through the information contained in books at library is very important. It is expected that skill books in village library can increase in number and thus reducing open unemployment, as well as producing goods and services according to their abilities.

With abundant natural wealth, Indonesia has the potential to advance with literacy. To make this happen, books on applied science are urgently needed to be distributed evenly throughout Indonesia. Syarif Bando appreciates stakeholders who provide testimonials and contribute in realising this programme that carries literacy for welfare.

“How literacy changes people's paradigms and lives can be seen from a story when meeting someone who failed in transmigration programme, failed to become a migrant worker, and became a beggar by the roadside. With a little communication, we asked him what he wanted and from that desire we facilitate with existing information sources, such as books on applied science, and we guide them for about 1 year. Now, that person is able to produce, previously a beggar now has more than 10 employees," he explained.

Syarif admitted that this programme succeeded in attracting requests from regional leaders so that their regions are used as pilots. This is the evidence that literacy can be a stimulant to motivate and convince regions in Indonesia that education is not only at the classroom but anywhere.

The social inclusion-based service transformation programme carried out by National Library of Indonesia in 2019 has made library a place for community empowerment activities and has reached 21 provinces and 60 districts and 300 villages in Indonesia.


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