g Kg Lindungan community library offers safe space in tough neighbourhood – Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Selangor

Kg Lindungan community library offers safe space in tough neighbourhood

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Kg Lindungan community library offers safe space in tough neighbourhood

Twelve-year-old Adam and his friends are impatiently waiting to use the computers for online gaming at the PJKita@Community Library in Kg Lindungan, Petaling Jaya. 

However, assistant librarian Grace Anak Dingin has different plans for them – she insists they read books before indulging in screen time.

Adam and his friends, regulars at the library, frequent the space daily after school hours. While computers are their main attraction, they also engage in reading, board games and in a game of ping pong.

“We are here almost daily, after school hours,” Adam says, admitting coyly that the computers are the main draw for them.

“But we also spend our time doing some reading, playing board games or just being here,” he adds, with his friends agreeing.

Although they were boisterous when on their own, they were shy to speak to us.

Grace, who has overseen the library since its inception in 2018, notes that the facility has become a sanctuary for local children amidst the neighbourhood’s notorious criminal activities.

The library, established by Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Selangor (PPAS) and Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ), is housed in repurposed containers, offering a safe refuge for children from broken homes or struggling with illiteracy.

It also offers a space to learn, grow and escape the dangers that surround them.

“These boys are all from this area. This community library has become a safe space for them to spend time effectively,” she says.

“Before the library’s establishment, these children had little to occupy their time and often found themselves drawn into the negative influences of their environment. 

“Now, their time is better spent engaging in educational and recreational activities that foster their development and keep them off the streets,” adds Grace.

She admitted that it was tough when the library first opened its doors in this neighbourhood but over the years, she and her colleague Azri Atan managed to turn things around.

“At first the boys were rude in their behavior and language but we managed to speak to them and guide them to accept us, and what we offer,” says ‘cikgu’ Grace as she is called by the kids.

She convinced these children to pick up reading habits, even to the extent of forcing them to read first before giving access to the computers.

Apart from that, they are also encouraged to participate in a range of activities, from reading and writing classes to arts and crafts sessions.

“The kids treat this library as their second home, and they take part in all our activities,” chimes in Azri, who is a local resident and a community representative.

“Everyone here knows me. The parents and teachers are constantly in communication (with me) and they do approach me if there are issues. We try to solve problems wherever we can,” he said.

These two dedicated librarians not only serve as mentors and coaches but also as guardians, providing a stable and caring presence in the lives of these vulnerable children.

“We are more than just librarians here,” smiles Grace.

“We offer a safe space for children to learn and grow, we provide support for those in need, and we also help foster a sense of community through our activities,” she continues.

By providing a positive and nurturing environment for the children, the library has helped improve the overall quality of life for residents. 

The children who once roamed the streets aimlessly are now engaged in productive activities that benefit both themselves and their community.

Another unique feature of the library is its community garden, where children and other community members can learn about gardening and sustainable living practices. 

This hands-on experience not only teaches valuable skills but also instills a sense of pride and ownership in the community as they watch their plants grow and flourish.

“Memang suka datang sini. Happy sini,” said Adam. His friends nodded in agreement, with beaming smiles.

The PJKita@Community Library has already made a lasting impact on the lives of those it serves. It stands as a testament to the power of education and community in transforming even the most challenging environments.

ENDS

En. Azri interacting with the children at the library
Librarians Pn Grace anak Dingin and En. Azri Atan
Hydroponic nursery at the library
A big draw for the children computers
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