BATU, EAST JAVA – Do you want your library a fun destination for children? Learn from SDN Temas 1 Kota Batu. This school used to be ignored. According to the principal, Mahmudah MPd, it was once labeled a sink school. "It got so bad that Temas stood for nothing but trouble," quipped Mahmudah as he started the conversation.
He made every kind of effort at improving things, including the buildings, the facilities, and the teaching and learning. One of the improvements was in the library. Reading culture activities were instituted for all classes without exception after receiving training from USAID PRIORITAS. "One day I got home from the training, the next day I made a clean sweep by applying the knowledge gained from USAID PRIORITAS to my school," he explained.
Along with the teachers, Mahmudah made reading corners in every classroom stocked with a diverse collection of books taken from the library. Shelves of books were placed in front of each class. The library was completely revamped. It was previously only used as a storeroom for books, but was returned to its full function. Mahmudah employed two librarians who specialize in running the library programs.
One of the library programs is called 'friends of the library'. The librarians chose 25 children who became the library's “friends”. They were selected from students who frequently visit the library and spend their free time reading there. Their job is to take books from the library every morning at 7:00 and put them neatly on the shelves in front of each class.
"Usually during break times, my friends are busy reading books," said Caca Veronia Amanda Rasya, a grade 5 student who became one of the friends of the library. Before going home, friends of the library collect the books and return them to the library. "Some classmates ask us to bring certain books the next day, for example, a recipe book or books on folklore," said Caca.
Mahmudah has sited bookshelves under the trees in the school garden. There are five big banyan trees, and underneath them are some seats and bookshelves made of wood. These are not only for the students, but also for parents who escort their children to school and enjoy a varied collection of books in the 'tree library' while they wait.
Meanwhile, in the classrooms every morning, students read silently for 15 minutes. After reading, they take out their journals that are stored in special pockets in their classroom. When they have written in their journals, one of them comes forward to recount the contents of their book. Who would have thought that this concept would have succeeded in making the school the winner in the School Quality Competition for primary schools in the library category held at national level by MOEC in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, in October 2016. (Dkd)