CIAMIS, JAWA BARAT – The students sat in groups in the classroom. Each one was reading a book. They were reading folk tales, and novels, and some were reading science books. The books were available from the classroom's reading corner. This was the atmosphere that morning at SMPN 1 Cikoneng.
A silent reading activity takes place for 15 minutes every morning after reading the Quran and before the lessons begin. SMPN 1 Cikoneng also arranges for periods of reading together lasting 25 minutes every Friday. These reading periods are used by students to read books and make notes on them. "Each student has a notebook in which they write their summaries," said Garnis Cipta Prawesti, a Grade VIII Indonesian teacher.
Each classroom has a reading corner. The school library manages and provides books for these reading corners. "The books in the classrooms are replaced in accordance with the requests of the classes. If the books have been read, the students take them to the library to exchange them," said Dadan Ramdhani, the librarian.
The regular replacement of books means the selection in each classroom's reading corner.is always changing. With a collection numbering 1,700 fiction books and 1,564 non-fiction books, the library is able to provide books for the school's nine classes.
The library also provides a Kereta Baca (reading cart) to bring books to the students. They can choose readings books from the cart during recesses.
The SMPN 1 Cikoneng library is not particularly big, but it is very well arranged. The books are on display on the low shelves. There are small reading tables on a red and blue carpet. Academic books are stored separately in a special room so they don't clog up the library. "We always buy new books every year using BOS funds (school operational assistance)," said Dadang.
BOS funds have been used to purchase these books since 2014, when SMPN 1 Cikoneng received training on Reading Culture from USAID PRIORITAS and it became one of school's programs. "The activities and program budget for reading culture are included in the School Work Plan and Budget," said Dindin Hardi, the school principal.
The school principal also seeks donations of books from parents each year. Parents buy books for their children when the school holds a book bazaar. As a result, the books donated by parents are suitable for junior secondary school students to read.
"This is because the books sold at the book bazaar have already been selected by the publishers together with the Indonesian language teachers," said Elsye Rosliana, herself an Indonesian language teacher. "The bazaar held early last year received book donations worth IDR 45 million from the parents," she added. (Hw)