Some time ago, I met with one of my friends who worked in the field of community development. We shared stories about the twists and turns of the challenge in developing society, especially in the field of education. After exchanging stories, one of the most interesting comments on my story was: “I thought taking care of the library was as simple as sending books, but it was also complicated”.
We at Taman Baca Innovator (TBI), indeed take care of every detail in managing the TBI libraries, which range from the daily visit of children to our TBI libraries, which grades come most often, what kind of books are often read, whether their parents allow them, to whether the community and village government care about the children’s interest in reading. Increasing children’s literacy is not an easy and simple job, because it is closely related to changing children’s behavior and habits in a society that is not used to it.
Every week, our staff who are in charge of managing the libraries will send a report to TBI headquarters, where one of the contents of the report is the attendance of children who come to TBI every day. From this report, we will usually analyze when children come to TBI, what grades they are in, what books they like to read and what makes them stop visiting the libraries. Based on this analysis we will create new programs and activities for the libraries. The activities are hoped to make children happy to read and visit the libraries. Will the problem be resolved then?
Actually, making our TBI libraries full of visitors is not our only goal. The next questions still follow. Has the children’s reading interest increased? Have the grades of children at school improved? Have the children begun to develop their critical thinking? Based on these questions, activities and programs are created to help children improve their reading ability.
Of course, the programs are not carried out directly on the ground by the TBI headquarters team. All of these programs and activities are carried out by regional TBI staff, teachers or parents. Therefore, we also need to increase the capacity of these parties. For every TBI library, we routinely provide training to teachers, staff or parents, because they are the ones who will be the spearhead of the success of the TBI programs.
Developing children’s reading interest is a marathon, not a sprint, and there are many factors that determine the success of increasing children’s reading interest. Can the TBI library able to do this alone? Certainly not. Let’s develop the literacy of Indonesian children together. Even the smallest kindness will benefit Indonesian children.