Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA) - Head of the National Library Muhammad Syarif Bando has urged everyone to foster a reading culture in order to tap into the economic potential offered by literacy.

"To improve the reading culture, believe that we will be rich when we have mastery of knowledge," he said at the “Regional Coordination Meeting on East Kalimantan Archive and Library” in Surabaya, East Java, on Wednesday.

According to him, this outlook on literacy improvement aligns with the mandate of the 1945 Constitution, which highlights that making people smart and prosperous is everyone's responsibility.

"Literacy is the extent of someone's knowledge on a certain subject matter, which can be implemented in goods and services production," he elaborated.

The lack of reading materials is still an issue, he said. However, the regional government should be able to address it by supplying books on subjects related to applied sciences or writing books about the potential of each region, Bando added.

"Our focus is for books on applied sciences to be distributed as much as possible to villages, and we consistently compel the civitas academica to also write books on applied sciences. Because the essence of Independent Learning is for educated people to understand what others need," he said.

To encourage a people-based economy, the library has formulated the Transformation of Library Based on Social Inclusivity program, he added.

"This program allows people to establish business and job opportunities," he said.

The program is for marginalized people who have slim chances of getting a formal education, he added.

"We give assistance program for a year on the development of selected economic potential in their region, so they can be independent through their own businesses, which they develop after they get the knowledge," he explained.

Bando said he expects the program to create job opportunities and reduce the unemployment rate as well as increase income per capita and generate foreign exchange.

"Because in the era of digital transformation, having knowledge alone is not enough, it also must be coupled with innovation and creativity," he pointed out.

Moreover, the National Library is also giving other assistance, such as special allocation funding, to be used to establish and create libraries, he said.

Meanwhile, expert staff to the governor for bureaucracy reform and regional finance in the East Kalimantan government, Diddy Rusdianyah, said that archives and libraries function as creators and keepers of civilization.

"Because maintaining civilization is not about what is in the current times, but the things that will happen in the future," Rusdiansyah added.

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Translator: Abdul Hakim, Naufal Ammar I, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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