Every year, May 17 is celebrated as National Book Day. The celebrations are not large-scale and lively, but rather interpret the efforts to grow and increase interest in reading in Indonesian society. Determining the date was the idea of the Minister of Education from the Gotong Royong Cabinet, Prof. Dr. Abdul Malik Fadjar since 2002. The day coincides with the anniversary of the founding of the National Library of Indonesia (Perpusnas) in Jakarta on May 17, 1980.
It is hoped that the establishment of National Book Day will spur interest in reading among the Indonesian people. It is known, at that time the reading interest of Indonesian children was classified as apprehensive. This is because the reading interest of the Indonesian people is still relatively low. Various survey and research results have proven this, for example a survey from UNESCO in 2011. Whereas in reading activities we can find out the latest sciences and can predict the development of civilization in the future.
In the past, Indonesian leaders were known to be people who liked to read. One of them is Bung Hatta, who is known for his sentence, "I'm willing to go to jail as long as I'm with a book, because with a book I'm free."
The low literacy culture in Indonesia has certainly become a challenge that needs to be addressed from year to year. The government itself continues to try to overcome these problems through a number of policies issued.
Growing a love of reading books is a challenge for every individual. Nevertheless, the commemoration of National Book Day was able to have a positive impact in making people aware of the importance of books. In fact, to celebrate National Book Day, several agencies such as the National Library of Indonesia held events and activities aimed at inviting the general public to visit the library.