The level of literacy amongst the public in this country is increasing from time to time. This is proven with the number of books lent at the library nationwide which increased from more than 24 thousand in 2017 to more than 31 thousand last year.

Last year, the number of books borrowed from the Language and Literature Bureau libraries were 31 Thousand 5 Hundred and 59 books compared to 24 Thousand 1 Hundred and 83 books in the previous year. The statistics show that the local community is aware of the importance of reading as one of the life necessities and a foundation for the nation's development towards 2035.

As the source of knowledge, the Language and Literature Bureau is committed to efforts towards empowering the reading culture among the public. A number of strategies and programmes are organised including The Early Literacy Programme, Mari Bercerita Competition, Brunei Bookfair, Empowering Reading Culture Carnival, provision of reading sections at the longhouses, Mobile Library Services and the 500 book donation for pre-school programme. However, it is important for everyone including family institutions to get involved in nurturing the reading culture amongst children as early as possible so that they will grow to love reading books.

The purpose of books as the source of knowledge is undeniable. However, the evolution of book from print to digital format, and the reading materials from new media, come with their own challenges. The popularity of digital books as the source of knowledge implies that the culture of reading can still be empowered amongst the public without using books in the physical form.

With the advancement of technology, information is one click away. However, statistics found that physical books are still relevant and popular amongst the public.

The library facilities that provide a variety of informative reading materials as well as a conducive environment, should be fully utilised because libraries are also regarded as information providers. The reading culture could then be developed in the framework of shaping a progressive community.

Source: Radio Television Brunei