On May 17, 2022, the Indonesian people will commemorate National Book Day. National Book Day, also known as Harbuknas, was only established in Indonesia in 2002. The National Book Day was initiated by Abdul Malik Fadjar, the Minister of Education who served in the Gotong Royong Cabinet (2001-2004).
Quoting from the Ministry of Education and Culture's Book Donation, "National Book Day was originally set to increase people's interest in reading and increase book sales. At that time, the average number of books printed every year only reached 18 thousand titles. This number is very low compared to other Asian countries, such as Japan and China which reached 40 thousand to 140 thousand book titles.
In addition, the literacy rate in the country is also low. In 2002 UNESCO revealed that the literacy rate in Indonesia for adults aged 15 years and over was only 87.9 percent. This figure is lower than Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand in the same year."
This idea was needed to increase reading interest and literacy rates which in Indonesia were still low at that time. Cultivating the habit of reading books is a challenge for this nation. However, these challenges must be faced together.
To make that happen, there are several things we can do while commemorating National Book Day, namely:
- Start getting used to reading books, starting with reading books that are light and useful.
- Make reading targets, for example reading 1-2 books in one month.
- Donate the books we have for our friends who are in need and have difficulty having access to read books.
- Visit the city or national library.
- Create a book reading club with friends or relatives to review and share knowledge about the books they read.
Happy National Book Day, let's make it a habit to continue reading books because one book can change the world and the future.