SEGAMAT: The National Library of Malaysia (PNM) is targeting 81 rural libraries nationwide to participate in the “Dariku Untukmu” Programme in an effort to promote the reading culture among school children in rural areas.

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) Datuk Seri Dr. R Santhara Kumar said apart from promoting a love for reading, efforts are being made to upgrade rural libraries with WiFi facilities for the surrounding residents.

“Currently there are 1,094 village libraries in the country but only 507 are managed by PNM and for a start 81 village libraries have been selected for this programme, beginning with Segamat.

“The 81 village libraries were selected as students from the B40 group are involved,“ he told reporters after officiating at the Dariku Untukmu programme at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sepinang near here, today which was also attended by PNM director-general Salasiah Abdul Wahab.

Santhara, who is also Segamat MP, added that to further enliven the programme, several other initiatives were introduced such as a competition to produce book review videos based on selected reading materials, with a chance to win attractive prizes.

MOTAC also aims for 60 per cent of village libraries to have better internet access and comprehensive access in 507 village libraries by the beginning of next year.

“We hope that with internet facilities upgraded, village libraries will become a knowledge centre for the community as well as a location for easy access to reading materials,“ he added.-Bernama