Some of you might know that I love reading. I never go out of the house without a book or Kindle in my bag, and I never go to sleep without reading a bit (or a lot, if the story is particularly exciting). Reading has been a huge part of my life. It’s a bit like first love — I don’t remember loving anything more than reading when I was little — and through the years, as my interests keep changing, reading is the one that remains the same. And through that, I’ve grown fond of writing, which now has become one of my passions.
This love affair with reading started way back years ago, when my mom read me bedtime stories. I spent my childhood in remote areas, where there was literally nothing to do but playing at the lake (or the beach, when I later moved to Sumbawa), and reading. I was lucky enough I went to schools which had libraries with good collections. I spent so much time in there that the librarian finally asked me to be her assistant (I said yes of course). Even before I did the real traveling, these books had me traveled all across the world, and the world outside our own. I had a happy childhood thanks to the many stories I read, and some of my lifelong dreams are inspired by those stories. I wrote a list of some of my old favorites here, if you’d like to see.
Unfortunately, not many people here have the same opportunity. Access to books is not as easy as one would hope, and although it’s getting much better now as there are more ways to get affordable books, for some people books are still a luxury, and so is reading. Consequently, this has affected the reading interest and habit here.
When I heard about Pustakalana, I was thrilled, and even impressed when I started following the story of how Chica built this. I first got to know Chica through her blog, and reading all the hard work she’d done for this library was really inspiring. This week I finally had the chance to visit Pustakalana and meet Chica. Talking with her, and listening to her incredible story was even more amazing, and I couldn’t help but feel such great fondness for this place.
This library might be small, but it doesn’t make it any less cozy. The room is bright with simple murals on the walls, with plushies and soft pillows on the carpeted floor. There were odds and ends for bibliophiles to shop, all very sweet and cute. Everything about this room seems to give warm and friendly vibes.
Raising reading awareness in Indonesia is one cause that I deeply care about, and Pustakalana, in one way or another, helps a lot. I do believe there’s no better time to introduce books to someone than as early as possible, and Pustakalana helps to accommodate this for children. The collection, which mostly consists of picture books, is mainly aimed for children under 7, although other ages are very welcome as well. It also holds several activities for children and moms each month, which makes it even more interesting. As well as providing access to great books, Pustakalana also gives the solution to the needs of public space.
There are so many things to tell about this sweet corner, but let me just stop here before this post gets too long. If you’re in Bandung, do visit this library. I promise it’s worth squeezing into your busy schedule. Pustakalana also welcomes volunteers and book donations, if anyone’s interested. For more info about it, follow the Instagram (@pustakalana) and Facebook page (Simpul Library – Pustakalana), or their blog.
Jl. Taman Cibeunying Selatan no. 5, Bandung
Opening hours: 9.30 – 16.00 (Tuesday – Saturday)