History of May 17th National Book Day

Rancakmedia.com – As we know, every May 17 Indonesian people commemorate National Book Day (Harbuknas), along with the history of National Book Day that Indonesian people need to know.

The low culture of reading books in Indonesia has been a concern for a long time. The low level of literacy in the country contributes to this condition.

According to a Central Connecticut State University poll conducted in 2016, Indonesians rank 60th out of 61 countries in terms of their interest in reading. UNESCO estimates that only 0.001 percent of Indonesians are interested in reading, which is very low.

This is exacerbated by the very high illiteracy rate in Indonesia. According to the latest BPS statistics from 2020, around 1.93 percent of Indonesia's population is still illiterate.

This shows that there are still around 5,237,053 Indonesians who cannot read letters. The largest illiteracy rate is spread across six provinces, including Papua, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and West Kalimantan.

So that the Harbuknas festival becomes a moment to remind elements from all walks of life about the importance of reading books.

The reading culture program is intended to stimulate reading enthusiasm and reduce illiteracy in the country.

History of National Book Day

This year's Harbuknas has been awarded for more than two decades, in 2002 to be precise. Abdul Malik Fadjar, Minister of Education in the Gotong Royong Cabinet, is considered to have started Harbuknas, according to history (2001-2004).

The launch of the Ministry of Education and Culture Book Donation, Harbuknas was originally intended to stimulate public interest in reading and increase book sales.

At that time, an average of only about 18,000 books were produced each year. Other Asian countries such as Japan and China have 40-140 thousand book titles, therefore the numbers are small.

In addition, the literacy rate in this country is very low. In 2002 UNESCO showed that the literacy rate in Indonesia for adults aged 15 years and over was only 87.9 percent. This number is less than the same year in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.

This condition is quite concerning, considering that basic reading skills are the main capital that must be owned so that the country can progress.

Reflecting on this, a number of elements of society, especially book-loving organizations, are campaigning for the legalization of the movement to strengthen reading culture.

Then in 2002, May 17 was designated as National Book Day. May 17 was chosen because it corresponds to the founding of the National Library of Indonesia which occurred on May 17, 1980.

How to Celebrate National Book Day

Harbuknas falls on Tuesday this year (17/5/2022). There are several ways to commemorate this national day, including:

  1. Take the time to buy a new book or re-read a favorite book you already have
  2. Visit the city or national library
  3. Donate used books worth reading to local libraries, reading parks, schools, or book donation collection organizations
  4. Enliven social media with images, messages and campaigns related to reading culture
  5. To make it more interesting, you can insert a Harbuknas-themed twibbon on the uploaded image at this link


This year's Harbuknas has been awarded for more than two decades, in 2002 to be precise. Abdul Malik Fadjar, Minister of Education in the Gotong Royong Cabinet, is considered to have initiated Harbuknas, according to history (2001-2004).'

In the article above, we don't only discuss the history of National Book Day, but we also discuss how to celebrate National Book Day.

Thus the article about the History of May 17th National Book Day, I hope the above article can be useful and helpful for all of you.

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