Community Reading Park (TBM) Improves Surabaya Community Literacy

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Education is the main tool for humans to improve their standard of living. Through education, humans can work, improve the economy, and participate in the social environment. In supporting educational programs for equal communities, the government provides non-formal and informal education channels through the development of non-formal and informal education centers and public libraries. Community Reading Park or known as TBM, is a small scale library known as reading corners, reading houses, smart homes, and so on. In TBM technical guidelines issued by Ministry of Education and Culture, TBM is an institution that promotes reading habits and provides space for reading, discussion, writing, and other similar activities with reading materials such as books, tabloids, newspapers, comics and other multimedia with human resources acting as motivators.

TBM in Surabaya is located in the village hall, RW hall, park, mall, and other locations. The existence of TBM aims to assist community development in areas that are difficult to reach by formal education institutions and public libraries. So far, TBM supervised by the Surabaya City Library Service has carried out community empowerment programs, especially in children’s education through tutoring programs and creative community efforts. Activities in TBM are not always directly related to collections, but TBM also supports the activities of small and medium enterprises (UKM) surrounding communities. The results of the study on the role of TBM in Surabaya community empowerment stated that 90 percent of UKM proved that the development of TBM was not yet relevant to the community’s need to improve the economy. It was based on a survey conducted to 14 TBM, and training has been done in 12 of them.

It is related to the professionalism of TBM personnel, where the majority of high school (SMA / SMK) graduates are trained to manage TBM. Managing TBM does not only maintain collections but also how to develop TBM that supports the surrounding community. Ideally, TBM officers need basic education in the library field. The City Library should prioritize human resources as the main consideration when establishing TBM. Competent human resources are expected to be able to develop TBM in accordance with its objectives. Data in the field shows that TBM officers only open, wait, and serve visitors. They have almost no education and economic empowerment to develop TBM.

Meanwhile, investigative data shows that TBM occupies little space in the urban community office, hall or small open buildings in the neighborhood, even 50% of them are not comfortable enough as places to study. The empowerment program is not only done by providing collections, but also providing a place for people to gather and exchange ideas, for training purposes. The average TBM in Surabaya does not have such facilities. Supporting facilities such as computers and Wi-Fi connections are not available in TBM. The internet has become a necessity for interactive learning resources, business development inspiration, and media for product promotion.

Furthermore, TBM is testing several programs related to empowerment such as children learning, collective craft activity, incidental, and informal programs include training in collaboration with local NGOs or UKM. The obstacles faced by TBM include loss of collections, difficulties in procuring collections, and difficulties in making programs due to lack of funds, lack of public awareness to use TBM, and TBM personnel who do not work full time because half of the time is asked to help in the school library. The innovations carried out by TBM have not been seen as well; it is still limited to word of mouth promotion, leaflets/posters, and dissemination to the public.

Author: Endang Fitriyah Mannan

Details of this research available at:

Anna, N.E.V., Mannan, E.F., Srirahayu, D.P. (2019) Evaluation of the Role of Society-based Library in Empowering Surabaya City People, Public Library Quarterly.

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