“Never lend a book because it will never be returned. The books in my library are all borrowed.” Marthen Christian Taka, Deputy Regent of West Sumba, half jokingly quoted the words of the French poet Anatole France. These ‘words of wisdom’ were spoken in his remarks at the inauguration of a child-friendly library at SD Inpres Poma primary school, on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.
The library is the 113th library to be built by education NGO Taman Bacaan Pelangi (TBP), and is the fifth built as part of its grant partnership with the INOVASI program. When finished, the TBP – INOVASI partnership will result in a total of eight child-friendly libraries in Sumba, with two libraries in each district.
The inauguration of the library took place in the morning. In addition to the Deputy Regent of West Sumba, there were also a number of education sector stakeholders present including the Head of the Southwest Sumba District Education and Culture Office, Yohanna Lingu Lango, Pelangi Reading Gardens Program Manager, Monica Harahap, members of the INOVASI Sumba Team, the school committee, and around 100 parents from the school community.
The activity began with remarks from the Principal of Inpres Poma primary school, Kristina Kondi. She explained that the school actually has a building for the library. But, instead of being used as a place to read for students, this building actually became a place for storing school goods.
“There are books but they are all textbooks and do not match the level of students’ reading ability. Children are not interested in reading. So, we use the room to store school items such as dispensers and other equipment,” Kristina said.
She continued explaining that the school’s perception of library management was also a reason why the building was not utilized to its full potential. “We think that libraries are the responsibility of librarians, so we don’t pay much attention to the books. But after getting training from TBP, oh it turns out the teacher must also be involved (in library management),” she added.
Before the inauguration, the school was provided with training for two weeks to improve library services. A week was spent on library management training and a week spent on reading activities. In addition to training and library buildings that have been reorganized to be child-friendly, TBP also equipped the library with 1,000 copies of children’s stories that are engaging and in line with children’s reading abilities.
The TBP Program Manager, Monica Harahap, in her opening remarks said that TBP was very committed to supporting the education of children and hoped that schools would make good use of the library. “We are committed to supporting children to achieve their dreams through reading. We hope that this library will not only be crowded at the time of its inauguration, but also provide benefits after it is inaugurated.”
Monica further explained that in due course, each class would have a visit to the library, once per week. During this visit, the class teacher will accompany the students. In addition, children may borrow books in the library and bring them home, so they can study at home and receive support from their parents.
INOVASI’s Provincial Manager in NTT, Hironimus Sugi, submitted some written remarks at the event through Kania Dewi, INOVASI’s Sumba Education Officer. He highlighted that the knowledge and skills acquired by teachers through the training provided by TBP is a very valuable asset, not only for schools but also districts.
“The knowledge and skills that teachers now have after receiving training from TBP are very valuable assets for schools. Knowledge and skills will also be more useful if it can be transmitted to fellow teachers in other schools because the knowledge and skills of the teachers are not only an asset of the school, but also an asset of the district, “he explained.
In closing the event, Deputy Regent of West Sumba, Marthen Christian Taka, expressed appreciation to all parties who have sought to improve the quality of Southwest Sumba’s human resources and education quality.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Southwest Sumba Regency, I express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to all those who have helped improve the quality of human resources through education,” Vice Regent Marthen said. He advised that the newly inaugurated library will be a unifying facility, and hoped that every child in Southwest Sumba could have access to quality reading books.
“Make this library a unifying place of thoughts, words, and actions that free us from the bondage of ignorance and, backwardness, and backwardness. Let’s together ensure that every SBD child (Southwest Sumba) has access to quality reading books without exception,” he said in closing.
The library was inaugurated at exactly 9am that day. Once open, and the ribbon was ceremoniously cut, attending guests moved inside to explore the library’s engaging resources and books.