Asia West Pacific

Greetings from the Peace Library in Pati, Indonesia: Can You Help?

By Ratih

My name is Ratih. I am an intern for peace libraries at Peace Place in Indonesia. I would love help from anyone who knows about children’s books and libraries, especially a collection on peace and justice. I can speak English. I have the internet and can use Zoom. 

I started managing a community library supported by my village in 2016. I then attended the 5th International AVP-Creating Cultures of Peace Training in 2018. This was the first time I heard of Peace Libraries. That conversation brought me to this journey. 

Since I learned about Peace Libraries, the idea only appeared to sink, until one day early this year I finally felt ready to step up and commit to making it happen. We started by designing a Peace Library for children. We wanted our library to be a place that supports children’s literacy and builds a culture of peace. From these two goals, we made a work plan.

  1. Support Children’s Literacy Skills

I am collecting children’s books in Indonesian and English for each of the Fountas and Pinnell reading levels. The collection will then support children’s ability to read by providing books based at their reading level. Children read more if they are not bored or frustrated. They also become people who feel capable and identify as readers. This approach is very empowering and not available to most Indonesians. 

In addition, reading aloud or telling stories in the library becomes a routine activity that we do every time the library is open.

  1. Building a Culture of Peace

I am collecting children’s books on peace to support our movement. We are using and learning from Peace Library online. At the moment we are looking for peace books in Indonesian and English at every reading level that fit with the AVP Regenerative Cultures of Peace and Justice curriculum: greeting, friendship, community, core self, affirmation, transforming power, communication, cooperation, civil disobedience, resiliency, reconnection, reconciliation, equality, simplicity, conscience, liberation, feedback, and speak out for justice. 

Before COVID closed the library, we held Power of Goodness events once a week. Integrating stories with material based on these AVP-CCP themes is a brilliant idea, children love it, and we are excited to do it. Sometimes we did activities with other communities to build friendship and learn about peace with various people. 

This journey has just begun, and we are trying and learning from our experiences. There are many things that I don’t know that might support this journey. The following are some of them:

  • I’m still trying to figure out how to fund the library so it is sustainable. Do you have any suggestions for me or experiences about how you funded such a library?
  • What reference books do you recommend for me to learn about children’s literature ages 0-7?
  • Do you have a list of books in English by developmental reading levels for children birth to seven years old on any of these themes? 

If you are willing to meet with me to help me identify a collection of books, please write to me at Bungsu91[at]gmail.com. Thank you for your kind attention!