September 27, 2023
Earlier this month, we gave an overview of five countries where Room to Read school libraries are flourishing, supporting strong reading habits and helping to create a culture of reading for entire communities. In Indonesia, Room to Read has expanded our work to two new regions, West Kalimantan and Maluku, establishing 12 new libraries in each area. In each of these communities, there are hundreds of children, and their families, who see the benefit of these libraries every day. Read on to learn how these new libraries are creating lasting change in children’s school experiences in Indonesia:
New library enthusiasm
During a recent visit to a Room to Read Literacy Program school in the Kalimantan region, our team observed that more students were playing outside rather than using the library during their free time. To help spark an interest in reading, our local leaders encouraged the headmaster of the school to fill the library with books from the “Becoming a Changemaker” series, which feature stories of ordinary people in Indonesia who have made a difference in the world. Developed by Room to Read in collaboration with Ashoka, each book showcases a different social issue, from environmental protection to gender equality, and is written in a way that is accessible and engaging for children aged 6 to 10.
Once the library was stocked, teachers immediately saw a newfound excitement in the children. During free time, the library quickly filled with students ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 6, all eager to open a book and start reading. Even students who were previously shy in school participated in read-alouds alongside classmates, enthusiastically sharing in the joy of reading with their peers.
In Kalimantan, library room preparation is exhilarating and exciting for the entire community. Librarian Mrs. Hayani shared how students, teachers and other library educators recently helped pack old books and clean to make space for new library improvements. Mr. Rudi, a devoted father of a Grade 2 student, was especially integral in this process, volunteering to paint colorful murals on the library walls. Even when art supplies were not readily available, Mr. Rudi's passion for the library remained. He visited the school on weekends and holidays to contribute his artistic skills and make the library room a special place for children to foster their love of reading.
Mrs. Hayani said, "Mr. Rudi is the one who always asks me what time he could come to school. It's truly inspiring to witness such enthusiasm from a parent."
The active participation and support from Mr. Rudi exemplify the power of libraries in bringing communities together, educators, parents and caregivers working together to create welcoming and engaging reading spaces where children can lose themselves in a good book.