Residents welcome new library with open arms
Greater Jakarta residents have been longing for a modern yet homey library that provides a wide collection of books, and the new National Library (Perpusnas) on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Gambir, Central Jakarta, is just the answer to that dream.
Located just across the capital’s iconic landmark, the National Monument (Monas), it is not difficult to find the 27-story building that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo claimed was the highest library in the world.
When first entering the newly built library’s lobby, visitors are welcomed by photographs of the country’s presidents, from founding father Sukarno to Jokowi.
In the center of the room stands a tall on which books are neatly arranged, as well as an information board showing what people can find on every floor of the building.
Those who want to sign up for a library card that would allow them to borrow books and read them at home can register for one on the second floor.
Prospective members are required to provide their personal details in an online application form that can be accessed through the library’s computers, before having their photo taken for their card.
Dozens of computer are available, so applicants will not have to line up to complete their registration process.
One visitor, university student Kauman Nurzaman, 21, told The Jakarta Post that he was curious to see the library himself after reading claims that it was the highest library in the world.
The university sophomore drove to the library using his motorcycle from his home in Depok, West Java, on Saturday, as the library is closed on Sunday.
“This place is indeed modern, quiet and clean. I bet it also has a wide range of books,” Kauman said, adding that he planned to regularly visit the library to look for reference books.
“I will visit this library often as it is placed in a very strategic location, in the heart of the city. Besides, it has many cozy spots to read books and to do my paperwork,” he added.
Every floor of the building provides comfortable sofas and wooden tables.
The children’s reading room on the seventh floor is even equipped with traditional games like congklak (mancala-based wooden board game), and other fun-filled offerings, such as mini cars and a playpen.
Merry Peludia, 35, who visited the library with her three children, embraced the new facility.
The housewife from Grogol, West Jakarta, said her family regularly visited bookstores on weekends because of her children’s fondness for books and reading.
With the opening of the National Library, Merry said she would not have to bring the children to bookstores anymore.
“All the books they like to read are available here. Besides, this place is also equipped with toys, so the kids can play whenever they get bored reading,” she said.
According to spokesperson Nurhadisaputra, the National Library’s old seven-story building in Salemba, Central Jakarta, will now serve as a book and document storage facility.
“Hopefully, by the end of September, all of our collections in Salemba can be moved to the new building,” he said.