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Thursday, 08 June 2017 00:00

Donation of Books to Selangor State Library

Written by  Low Hai Loon, Klang / Translated by Woon Xiao Rui

Volunteer Tan Shay Kiat presented the books to Siti Saliha, representative of Raja Tun Uda Library, in a joyous atmosphere. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]

Since February this year, discussions regarding book donation have been ongoing between Tzu Chi volunteer, Ang Sok Kim, and staff of Selangor State Library. After four months of discussions and deliberation, the library authority finally granted their approval. On June 8, 2017, volunteers sent tens of books from Jing-Si Publications to the library. Not only has this donation enriched the library’s collection of Mandarin books, but it has also paved the way for Master Cheng Yen’s words of wisdom and Tzu Chi’s humanistic culture to enter the library, thereby touching more souls.


A fateful coincidence

Speaking of the book donation, volunteer Ang Sok Kim always regards it as a fateful coincidence. She began frequenting the Raja Tun Uda Library this February, in an effort to bring her children there to read. At the same time, at Tzu Chi Taman Sentosa Community Centre, the collection of reference books for tuition use was steadily increasing. In order to smoothen the organizing process, Sok Kim was entrusted with the task of indexing the books. Hence, she decided to visit and learn from various libraries. That marked the beginning of the chance for book donation.

Sok Kim recalled that her first impression of the State Library was that there were limited choices for Mandarin books, despite the spaciousness and comfort of the library. Thus, as a volunteer actively involved in the promotion of Jing-Si Culture Publications products, the thought to donate books to the library emerged in Sok Kim’s mind.

“Many people find books published by Jing-Si Culture Publications excellent. Therefore, I had hoped to purify people’s minds through the contents,” said Sok Kim. Having no prior knowledge in this respect, she spent a fair amount of time and efforts to understand the book donation procedures.

First, she approached the library staff to obtain relevant information. After obtaining the contact details of the person-in-charge, she was able to make arrangements over the phone, and sent the first batch of five books to the library for review in April.

Sok Kim and fellow volunteers had two main considerations over the book selection. The first being the acceptability of the book contents by the public; and the second being multi-lingualism of the contents to suit and benefit the multi-racial readers. With these considerations, volunteers selected five books that revolve around morality and vegetarianism, namely, “Jing Si Aphorisms in Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil”, “Jing Si Aphorisms for Children”, “Worry Not”, “The Essence of Filial Piety”, and “Modern Vegetarianism”.

The donating process was a new experience for volunteers, who have brought Jing-Si Culture Publications to schools and private organizations in their effort to introduce Tzu Chi’s humanistic culture to the public and students. But, they had never done this with a government establishment, such as, a State Library. To accomplish this, volunteers carried out fundraising activities in their community to pool funds for the book purchase.

On the eve of the Buddha bathing ceremony this May, Sok Kim read an article about the State Library in a Mandarin newspaper, and proceeded to share the news with a library representative, whom she had been communicating with. In her response, the latter informed that they had finished reviewing the books donated by Tzu Chi, and had approved all five books. “My heart was jumping in joy when informed that the library could accept these books. I was very surprised, and realized that any book can make its way into the library, as long as it is a good book. This also implies a recognition of books published by Jing-Si Culture Publications,” shared Sok Kim.

Purifying minds throughout the community

On June 8, volunteers brought another 87 books to the State Library located at Seksyen 13, Shah Alam. Located near a lake, the library has a quiet environment filled with a cultural atmosphere.

Siti Saliha Mohd Said, the library representative said, “Many would say that it is now the age of digital information, and that electronic books will become increasingly common. Yet according to our statistical data, the number of library visitors is actually increasing each year. So we believe that readers still prefer the touch of a physical book while reading.”

It was the first time the library received donation of Mandarin books in large quantity from an organization. Siti Saliha said frankly that many readers have commented on the comparatively small collection of Mandarin books in the library. Despite the library’s continual efforts to increase the number of Mandarin books, the lack of Mandarin-literate staff has inevitably delayed the review process. Thankfully, the books donated by Tzu Chi have at least a Mandarin to English translation, which sped up the review process. To the library, the donation could not have come at a better time.

Siti Saliha shared her thoughts and expressed her recognition of books published by Jing-Si Culture Publications, “The review process places emphasis on whether the content is suitable for the general public. I, too, participated in reviewing these books. I found that they all held strong values on moral and ethics, such as, doing kind deeds or helping each other. These values are very beneficial to the readers, especially to the younger generation.” Besides, the Raja Tun Uda Library also plans to distribute the books to community libraries located within densely Chinese-populated areas, as well as, mobile libraries that visit rural or flat areas, for readers’ convenience.

“Digital media is now widespread, but they contain contents that are false or difficult to have the source validated. I sometimes find this situation confusing. Therefore, as long as the people have a chance to finish reading a quality book properly, their hearts will be settled and calmed,” Sok Kim expressed her happiness. She hopes that the values in the books will touch more people, becoming a torch that shines upon their souls.

After handing over the books, volunteers shared with Siti Saliha the community work that Tzu Chi is doing. When Siti Saliha learnt that Great Love Mothers would visit schools for storytelling sessions, her eyes immediately lit up. She expressed that this kind of activity has always been the focus of the library’s plans in order to attract families to visit the libraries and create a reading culture. She hopes that besides book donation, the library can collaborate further with Tzu Chi to nurture morality among the next generation!

 

 

Volunteer Ang Sok Kim and the library representatives, each holding a donated book, for a group photo. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]   Volunteer Ang Sok Kim (2nd left) and fellow volunteers placed the books on the table, while explaining their contents to Siti Saliha again. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]

Volunteer Ang Sok Kim and the library representatives, each holding a donated book, for a group photo. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]
 
Volunteer Ang Sok Kim (2nd left) and fellow volunteers placed the books on the table, while explaining their contents to Siti Saliha again. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]
 
Volunteer Lee Kam Yoke is seen here introducing the books to a library staff. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]   A group photo of Raja Tun Uda Library representatives and Tzu Chi volunteers after the book presentation ceremony. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]

Volunteer Lee Kam Yoke is seen here introducing the books to a library staff. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]
 
 
A group photo of Raja Tun Uda Library representatives and Tzu Chi volunteers after the book presentation ceremony. [Photograph by Chia Heen Kheow]