Saturday, 27 September 2014

Let’s push for community library initiative

Most of my friends will say these are expensive sleep inducing books! 

For years, we never ceased to read the report that the average numbers of books that Malaysians read are dismay in numbers although there are some paltry increases over the years. There are various factors that attribute to this and the feedback that I’ve often received is reading is an expensive thing to do even when one buy from warehouse sale such as those by Big Bad Wolf or the occasion book fair.
I have to agree that books are indeed very expensive in Malaysia, especially non-fiction books which are often being regarded as dull, boring and sleep inducing but more often than not, these are the books that exposed one to a wide world view, informative and at times, they are thought provoking. Sadly, these are the books that most Malaysians will give a pass either due to the expensive price tag or they are just not interested. Therefore, something must be done to bring in the interest in these books by making them easily available. 
I have to admit that I am very fortunate because my job and travel often lands me in different countries across the globe where I can purchase newly published books at the price that is so much cheaper compared to Malaysia even after conversion and to explore the many second hand bookshops that offer gems that can’t be found in Malaysia. Another liberty that some Malaysians enjoyed but denied to the majority is the ability to purchase books that aren’t available in our bookstores from Amazon.com which do not come cheap factoring in the shipping cost.
An irony thing that often happens to me and like-minded friends who do not mind to spend on books is to end up having a few copies of the same title. Sometimes, this is due to our own absent mindedness but most of the time it is because of the different covers because the same book may be published by different publishers or the issue of hard cover edition versus the paperback edition. So, what do we do with these books?
As for myself, I will often donate these books away but after reading the article; For the people, by the people – Little Libraries can build community and love for books published by The Star on 22nd Sept, it is time for us to emulate the concept mentioned in the article. It is a good way to build the spirit of sharing and trust among the neighbors and at the same time encourages fellow Malaysians to develop a love for books and reading.  
For a start, we can make good use of the community centers around our residential area to allocate a little space for a mini library with contributions of books by the residents itself. Or, one can move a step further with some unique ideas to start a mini library that suits our society for the benefit of everyone.
I know there will be many naysayers who will say that this idea is not workable in our society because there will be little contributors, books not being returned, dumping of unwanted materials and lots more but without a try and an effort, how are we to know this initiative is going to be. So, let’s be bold and start doing something for the society even it is just a tiny one compared to doing nothing, as Napoleon Hill said: " If you cannot do great things, do small things in great way."



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