Manual Excursion: Perpustakaan Nasional

by Erdira Wirengjurit
28th September 2018
The brand new Perpustakaan Nasional lured us for another Manual Excursion, where we visited the shiny library building that houses more than four million tomes, spread across its 24-storey structure.

When a word is said of a new library in town, it may not stir the most excitement. To some, libraries may resonate with the dreadful hours spent on laptops to work on those due assignments during university days. With the overabundant presence of coffee shops in the city, it doesn’t come as a surprise if the younger populace prefers them over libraries for study and work spots. So, what good does a library do these days?

Well, for one, libraries are more than study spots. Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia (Perpusnas) is a long-standing public institution that provides the public access to knowledge resources. Previously located in Salemba Street, the new library has been relocated to Medan Merdeka Selatan Street, facing right to the National Monument (Monas).

Just a finger-count months ago, the new library was inaugurated and opened for public. Here houses an astounding collection of four million books across its 24-storey building. Which, by the way, makes it the tallest standing public library in the world at 126,3 metres tall, as opposed to the three-floored building that preceded it over at Salemba Street.

First striking sight upon entering is the unmistakably giant bookshelf that stretches all the way up to the 4th floor. Though, the real fun begins later. Each floor at the library is dedicated to a collection. Take for example, the children’s book collection on the 7th floor, or the collection of old and rare relics on the 14th floor. Not only that, each floor is equipped with reading lounges, study and discussion rooms – in brief, neat facilities for readers to enjoy should they need a place to work.

But beyond the books and new space, the expansion involves more services and facilities to help visitors with their queries. Meaning, libraries exist to bridge the gap between the public and the overload of literature that exists. And the new Perpusnas encourages this abridgement. Any research you may have will flourish with the help of trained librarians at Perpusnas, who are able to guide you through the vast resources of the library.

It’s undoubtedly beneficial for academics and students to have a resourceful library. But for the regular visitors, libraries can easily seem intimidating due to its hushed and serious environment. But perhaps, Perpusnas can be your new nook of refuge in the city. Maybe it’s the composed silence or the smell of books filling the air that can provide your longing for a momentary solace. It’s an atmosphere impossible to replicate elsewhere. For that alone, maybe signing up for a library membership card doesn’t sound too bad, after all.