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Floating Library spreads Joy of Reading in Eastern Indonesia, contributed by Ruth O'Driscoll

An innovative library scheme has been launched in Eastern Indonesia to encourage young readers. Using traditional padekawang boats, the floating library travels hundreds of miles to provide books for youngsters on remote islands, such as these children, perched in a tree on Mali Beach on Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara.  

According to Yusuf Wahil in the Jakarta Post: “Back in the 17th century, seafarers from Sulawesi used padekawang to sail all the way to Australia. The traditional boat, which has one or two masts and uses tanja sails, is finding new life in a literacy program based in South Sulawesi.

 “The Armada Pustaka Mandar program recently launched padekawang as a floating library to spread the joy of reading to children in the eastern part of Indonesia. After sailing hundreds of kilometers from Makassar, South Sulawesi, the padekawang library finally made land in December 2019 at Larantuka in East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara.

“Children swarmed the boat as the program held a reading event onshore. Armada Pustaka Mandar founder Mahammad Ridwan Alimuddin used the occasion to tell the children the story of his journey across the seas. “Who wants to come up and tell us about the book you just read?” Ridwan asked the children after he finished his story. Dozens of hands shot up into the air.  

“Magdalena Oa Eda Tukan from the Simpasio Institute, which is supporting the floating library along with the East Flores Archival and Sociocultural Studies Agency, said that the program promoted literacy while preserving Sulawesi’s seafaring traditions.

“Besides motivating the children [to develop their reading habit], the event has also reminded us that our ancestors were sailors. It is now our job to continue the program,” she said. Before Larantuka, the padekawang floating library called at dozens of ports in Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and Maluku."  

Article and Pictures taken from the Jakarta Post. You can read the full article at:


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