Small Steps to Build Civilization

Kompas, page 11

There is a presumption that books and libraries are only for students or academics. No wonder public interest in reading is low. In Aceh, the perception is slowly changed. Some communities are present to offer reading material. A small step for building a new civilization, from the oral to the literary. One of the reading communities is the community of Aneuk Nanggroe House of Reading or Rumah Baca Aneuk Nanggroe (Ruman). Head of the community, Ruman Fadhil said the number of daily visitors reached 400 people, with the number of books borrowed of up to 300 titles.

Borrowing books at Ruman is easy. Simply fill in personal data and telephone number. There are no fines for late returns of books; and so far there are none who do not return books borrowed.

In addition to Ruman, there are also other communities opening libraries among the people, namely, Youth Volunteer House (3R), Ar-Rashid Reading Garden, Friends of Aneuk Dhuafa Pidie Teaching and Mugee Books. Coordinator of 3R Romi Perdana said he opened five libraries in remote villages in Aceh Tamiang, Central Aceh and Aceh Besar. He chose the remote areas considering these children have had difficulty obtaining books. Books provided by 3R are mostly for children such as story books, comics, and religious books. 3R is also placing a volunteer to manage the books and teach children to read and write.

Acehnese interest in reading nationally is ranked 10th out of 34 provinces. UNESCO notes, the reading index of the Indonesian nation is only 0.0001 (2012). That means among 1,000 people, only one person reads seriously. Similarly is the survey note of the Most Literate Nation in the World (2015) which places Indonesia to rank 60th out of 61 countries.

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