In Duri Pulo Schools, Space for Libraries Is More of a Problem than Finding Books

The Jakarta Globe
In Duri Pulo Schools, Space for Libraries Is More of a Problem than Finding Books

A school library is a luxury. Just ask the students and teachers of 10 state elementary schools in Duri Pulo in Central Jakarta.   

Situated on Jalan Setia Kawan III in Central Jakarta, these 10 schools — from SDN 1 Duri Pulo to SDN 10 Duri Pulo — are built within a single complex. Each school has 240 students, but not one of them has a proper, separate structure for a library.  

The problem? Lack of space and funding. In fact, space is so limited and funding so scarce that two of the schools — SDN 6 Duri Pulo and SDN 10 Duri Pulo — already have been forced to let classes share classrooms.  

Hetdina Tobing, a teacher at SDN 4 Duri Pulo, told the Jakarta Globe that all the school could manage was to empty out one classroom and use a portion of it as a makeshift library, with the remainder serving as the teacher’s lounge.  

This, Hetdina said, is being done by each of the schools in the cramped complex. 

“We had to sacrifice one classroom for this makeshift library. Therefore, first- and second-grade students now have to take shifts studying in one classroom — first grade in the morning and second grade in the afternoon,” Hetdina said.  

SDN 4 Duri Pulo has a collection of more than 1,000 books located in a 16 square meter room on the second floor of the SDN Duri Pulo school complex. 

Nurul Amri, the librarian at SDN 4 Duri Pulo, said other than purchasing books itself every year, the schools often receives book donations from companies, foreign embassies and nongovernmental organizations. 

As the book collection keeps  growing, Nurul said he hopes to someday place them in a proper library building. 

“I hope the students get a new library, butI know it’s impossible as we do not have space for it,” he said. 

“Even though ours is only a makeshift library, so many students come and visit during recess. They can’t visit every day because the library is so small that we are unable to accommodate many students. We give them a schedule so they can visit twice a week.”  

“Most of the students are interested in books with colorful pictures, such as science encyclopedias,” Nurul added. 

“Even if we do not have a proper library, it would be very good if we could get science comic books to add to our collection and stimulate our students.”  

The Kompas daily recently reported that Ministry of Education data shows at least 55 percent of elementary schools nationwide do not have libraries.  

Alan Mulyana, a fifth-grader at SDN 3 Duri Pulo, believes that reading can help him expand his knowledge. 

“My teacher told me books are a window to the world,” he said. 

“That’s why I love to read them.” 

“Despite the fact the book is purchased with the school operational aid from the central government, we also often get book donation from other parties, including novels, encyclopedias, books on Indonesian history book or Indonesian folklore. But again, problem is space and funding,” Nurul Amri said.  

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