Thursday, April 17, 2008

Community libraries in Indonesia

Stian Håklev, a recent graduate of University of Toronto, has just finished his amazing senior thesis on community libraries in Indonesia. These reading gardens are grassroots initiatives. Quite interesting... you can read for yourself. Stian is off to India this summer, for some more research on a literacy project there. We hope he'll head out to a FAVL program area next!

Mencerdaskan Bangsa - An Inquiry into the Phenomenon of Taman Bacaan in Indonesia
Since 2001, a movement of individuals, neighbourhood and community organizations and NGOs starting and running their own libraries has emerged in Indonesia. Called Taman Bacaans (TBs) - reading gardens - these simple libraries, often hosted in somebody’s house, or in a community building, provide easy and informal access to books, as well as frequent literacy programming. This thesis traces the historical heritage of these TBs back to the early renting libraries of peranakan Chinese in the 19th century, through Balai Pustaka and the public library movement under Sukarno. The modern TB emerges in the 1980s, the government attempts a wide-scale implementation of TBs in the 1990s, and a community movement finally emerges in 2001. Using interviews with informants and newspaper articles, blogs, mailing lists, and NGO and government reports, I describe the process of how the TB movement emerges in Bandung and Yogyakarta. I also identify a number of factors that enabled and supported the movement: inspiring individual role-models, “best-case” libraries, networks and the roles of Islam and nationalism. Finally I provide an overview of the situation today, combining government statistics with the results of a survey conducted in Jakarta, and show that there are three kinds of TBs: those set-up by national, regional or local government (TBMs), those funded by large-scale donors, and independent TBs grounded in the local communities. I conclude with a number of recommendations for government and donors.

No comments: