The Jakarta Post
Books that can be found at Rimba Baca, South Jakarta. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Jakarta is home to numerous spots for bookworm. Below are places worth visiting to channel your inner bibliophile.
Adopting a family library as its concept, Rimba Baca is stocked with children's books on its first floor and adult books on its second. Those entering the library are required to take off their shoes.
The first floor is home to children's books for all ages up to 12 years old. The books range from activity books and encyclopedias to fiction works. Most of the books are in English, but there are also works in Indonesian and other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Indian and Chinese. Families mostly come on the weekends. The library also has an art room where children can learn to draw and express themselves creatively.
Children's books at Rimba Baca are arranged based on age. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
The second floor is for adult books of different genres, including fiction, religion, design, parenting, comics and biographies. The books here are also mostly in English, although there is a special section for Indonesian books and comics. People can read on the floor, in chairs or on sofas.
One can enter the library by paying either a membership or non-membership fee. For the non-membership fee, it costs Rp 30,000 (US$2) per children and Rp 50,000 for adults who accompany them. For adults who come without children and opt to head straight to the second floor, it costs Rp 30,000. Visitors are not allowed to borrow books.
With the membership program, which one can join by filling in a form and paying an administrative fee of Rp 375,000 for a family, all members of the family can visit the library at any time and borrow books for a maximum period of two weeks.
Rimba Baca also offers many activities, such as seminars for parents and workshops.
Address: Jl. Intan RSPP No. 21B, Cilandak, South Jakarta.
Hours of operation: Every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (except national holidays)
Rimba Baca will be closed from June 14 to 24 because of the Ramadhan and Idul Fitri holiday season.
Located near Watt Coffee in Senen, Central Jakarta, Kwitang14 is a source of reference for films and sociopolitical issues.
It was opened in March 2017 and established by members of Cinema Poetica, a collective of film critics, journalists, researchers and activists. Many of the books were donated from their own collection.
Over 200 titles can be found here, ranging from topics on sociopolitical issues to design and culture. Their catalogue can be viewed online.
Many of the books here are English, but some have been translated into Indonesian.
The books here cannot be borrowed, but you can read them at Watt Coffee if you bring ID, such as a KTP or passport. There are no administrative or entrance fees.
Books about film can be found at Kwitang14. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Kwitang14 is open from Friday to Sunday, but visitors are welcome to read outside of the operating days by contacting the staff at least a day in advance.
It also hosts a routine event, Nonton Dikwit, where people can watch films and partake in discussions afterward.
Address: Jl. Kwitang Raya No. 14, Senen, Central Jakarta.
Contact: [email protected]
Hours of operation: Friday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (flexible)
Read also: Jakpost guide to the Jakarta Fair
If you are looking for books on architecture, On Meeting Architecture Hub (OMAH) Library could be your go-to spot.
Established in 2014 by architect Realrich Sjarief, OMAH Library aims to help budding architects, or those interested in the subject, access information about architecture in Indonesia.
There are about 1,500 titles that can be found here, focusing mainly on 10 architecture-related categories, such as architectural monographs, case studies and theories.
The library also collects other genres, including philosophy and fiction. Most of the works are in English, but Indonesian books are also available. They can only be read inside the library and visitors do not need to enroll or pay to enter and read.
If you want to visit OMAH Library, it is best to do it on weekends or call the library first as it is located at the private residence of Realrich Sjarief. (OMAH Library/File)
OMAH Library has seven main programs, namely Learning from the Master, Bittersweet in Design Experience, Book Discussion, Sounds of OMAH, Public Lecture, Architecture Pilgrimage Trip and Brownbag. Bittersweet in Design Experience, for example, is a discussion with local and regional architects about the world of architecture in Indonesia, while Architecture Pilgrimage Trip is an open trip in which participants visit an architectural work and discuss it.
If you want to visit the library, it is best to do it on the weekends or call beforehand as the place is nestled within the private residence of Realrich Sjarief.
Address: Jl. Taman Amarilis 2 F2/15, Taman Villa Meruya, North Meruya, West Jakarta.
Contact: +622158906043 or [email protected]
Hours of operation: Weekends, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., contact the library first via e-mail.
The National Library of Indonesia is a must-visit center of knowledge in Jakarta. Books from different genres, films, ancient texts or old-time newspapers can be found here.
Different floors have sections dedicated to certain subjects. Children and the elderly, for example, can visit the seventh floor as it has two rooms dedicated for them. The children's library has collections of books and colorful decorations, while the senior section has books about health. The senior section is also where books in Braille can be found.
Bookshelves on the 22nd floor of the National Library of Indonesia. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
In general, people usually flock to the 21st and 22nd floors as books from a wide array of genres – from literature to non-fiction – can be found there. Sofas, tables and power plugs are provided.
However, the library is closed from June 9 to 21 because of Ramadhan, but you can still install its app, iPusnas, to borrow e-books and read them offline. There is also an ePustaka category where you can find books from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and other influential figures in Indonesia. One must first sign up to gain access to ePustaka.
Books can be borrowed and returned on iPusnas. (JP/ Ni Nyoman Wira )
Address: Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 11, Jakarta, 10110
Contact: [email protected]
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday (8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Saturday to Sunday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)