Monday, July 11, 2005

Oh my need of cheaper books

Another respond to an excellent posting of AbeDib.

Prices of books is still a cause of concern. Number of public libraries as well!

I really admire your keenness in reading, it's a habit that is really worth doing. Alas, how many Malaysian are known to read books, what-ever genre the books are, as well as how many of them could actually afford to purchase the books in the first place.

This brings me back to my childhood, in Kelantan. I was fortunate enough to go to school in town, the 'late' Sekolah Rendah Sultan Ismail (II) right in the middle of town, next to Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri, but most importantly, right to the corner of it, Carnegie Library!

I spent my afternoons reading and browsing through the whole collections of the entire library. I could even master the Dewey Collection system, and then upgrading my knowledge into Lib. of Congress system of cataloging. All these in the few hours that I spent daily at the library while waiting for my 'late' mother, May Allah swt provide her with bounties of rahmat, so that we could go home together.

I don't have a lot of books in my own collection, we are not from a well-to-do family. What I lacked in collection, I subtitute by reading the collections at the library, as well as borrowing the books out. The practice has helped me a lot in increasing my knowledge and understanding of things, and how they work.

My secondary years are helped by the availability of book-reading exercise at our alter-mater, SDAR. Trying to read and prepare report of books, a title a week has been a tremendous help. Praise the administration of the school for the effort and initiative.

I still continue reading, and purchasing books, while I can.

Gone are the days of cheap books, the affordable, low-priced edition of ELBS (English Language Book Society) publications, and comes the new age of capitalism.

Books are getting more and more expensive and visits to library becomes more difficult with limited free time. Public libraries are also now seen as a very dis-organised institution and collection seen dwindling. Take a visit at the 'premier' Perpustakaan Negara at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, and you know what I mean.

I am hoping that collections at public libraries could be improved further and more of them could be made available, to the masses. Universities and higher institutions libraries should be made available to close communities, so that it could help the masses to access to their collection.

Reading habits could also be inculcicate by making more books available at cheaper prices, maybe to the extend of having local-versions of international titles to be printed at lowest possible cost. I personally know of cheap titles of international titles being re-published in India, albeit using a lower quality papers.

With the increament of public library numbers, accesibility to higher institution libraries to the masses, as well as the introduction of 'cheaper version' of international titles by local publishers (printers), I know, insyAllah, Malaysians would be a more enlightened and intelligent society.

Comment from my former blogspot, at
By Kervin, "If Malaysians are wondering why the typical citizen is not reading more, one reason will be the lack of access to books. Books are expensive no joke and this factor has sidelined those who can’t afford to own them.".

My reply to it, "More efforts should be made to ensure an improvement to the budget allocated to improve public libraries spendings!

Pressure the elected officials?
Elect new ones?
Find philantropies to donate excellent libraries for each communities?

Formerly posted here.


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