State breaks record with 5,000 books collected in 9 days

Some of the book donors for the #9DAYS500BOOKS campaign.

KUCHING: BESarawak’s viral book donation campaign, #9DAYS500BOOKS, was a hit among Malaysians as the nine-day flash book drive received 5,000 books of various titles and genres for Batang Ai’s first community library at Nanga Ukom longhouse.

The book donation was led by the 59th International Congress & Convention Association Asia Pacific Regional Hub Congress (ICCA), under its corporate social responsibility project known as “Gift of Love: Batang Ai Community Library”.

The project, sponsored by Sarawak Energy Bhd in collaboration with the Librarians’ Association of Malaysia and Sarawak State Library, aimed to populate the community library that will serve at least seven longhouse communities.

Batang Ai’s community library is a pilot project to understand the legacies of conventions.

Rural areas such as Nanga Ukom often lack access to educational support, therefore, the legacy measurement is to see how effective the library will be to help rural children and teens remain in school.

Convention legacies, or globally known as legacy impacts, is about the power of business events to promote social inclusivity, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

Sarawak is full-steam ahead in championing legacy impacts and the Sarawak Economic Action Council has put business events as the driving force behind its aspiration for economic and social development.

“Legacy impact is uncharted territory for most destinations and Sarawak is now one of the leaders in this progressive initiative for Malaysia’s business events industry – and for Asia Pacific as well, ” said Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee.

“Although some destinations are advocating a similar movement, Sarawak is currently the only one that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the needs and desired outcomes of the government and business event planners to fully reap the benefits of business events. It’s a historic achievement for an industry that is quite young.”

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader we say, ” stated BESarawak’s acting chief executive officer Amelia Roziman, who believes that education is a powerful tool to transform lives and the world at large.

“Education is an indispensable human right that helps to lift economically and socially marginalised communities out of poverty and participate fully as citizens.

“We are touched by the kindness of Malaysians for donating the books and allowing us to achieve our target number.

“We aspire to transform the library into a preschool and weekend learning centre involving local education authorities to help both children and young adults gain confidence in today’s essential skills such as literacy and numeracy.

“Legacies aren’t immediate, but the first legacy we have scored was Sarawak’s ability to bring Malaysians together for a great cause, ” she added.

The library is currently 90% complete, with add-ons such as solar panels to be installed to provide Nanga Ukom longhouse with sufficient power supply.

The opening ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Nov 27 with Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister cum Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah as guest-of-honour.

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