Consider including library sessions in ECA: DBP

National 2 minutes, 45 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

WITH the start of the new year, the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) is expecting to see a new vigour for reading as schools continue their initiative to promote a reading culture, said its director yesterday.

Hjh Aminah Hj Momin told The Brunei Times that library study sessions should be included as an extra-curricular activity so that students get into the habit of visiting libraries not just during school holidays.

“Books in school libraries are not enough compared to the libraries under the DBP, this is why I would like to suggest that the Ministry of Education (MoE) through schools to consider including library sessions for interested students be made a part of the ECA,” she said.

Hjh Aminah said that the DBP in collaboration with MoE will set up a carnival in February inviting parents and children to be involved in the “Bacathon” - an activity encouraging families to be regular readers.

Aside from these hopeful initiatives, the DBP library in the capital expects to maintain its vibrant flow of visitors as they have in the past years.

Hjh Aminah said that libraries received most visitors during the four school term holidays (in an academic year) in the past year, due to activities held by the library during these times.

“When it is the school holidays, they (students) take advantage (of the free time) to come to the libraries, during the school days. It is not that they simply do not come, but due to the fact that they are at school,” she said.

The Director said the activities held recently during the December holidays included writing and drawing workshops, seeing a large number of students coming at the start of the month compared to lesser numbers towards the end of it suggesting that perhaps this was due to families going for vacation abroad.

The Head of Lending Services of the Bandar branch, Norhasinah Moksin, said students also flocked to the library during the exam period in September studying past year exam papers that the library would lend out.

“The past year papers were always updated as the lending service for the papers was a collaborated initiative with the Ministry of Education,” she said.

In regards to the order of most popularly lent books, Norhasinah said the past year papers were the most frequently borrowed followed by fictional Malay books followed by books from the hobbies section; consisting cooking and handicraft books.

According to library stats, she said tourists also visited the library throughout last year finding the Bruneiana section – a section consisting books about Brunei written by locals – as the most appealing section. She added that the library would entertain the tourists with presentations provided by the Library staff of Brunei’s heritage and history.

Separately, Mohd Yadey Hazabillah Hj Md Zain, head of the IT unit said computers providing free internet to users 45 minutes at a time were popular among children. From January to September 2015 all 10 libraries in the sultanate saw a total of 82,808 books loaned with 67,401 visitors while the year 2014 saw 115,418 books borrowed along with 105,270 visitors.

The public may sign up for a free membership and borrow up to 5 books - a relatively recent adjustment made by the library - compared to only borrowing up to three books in the past.

The Brunei Times