Lose Yourself in These 5 Must-Visit Libraries around Jakarta
Libraries, in general, don’t necessarily have a stunning reputation among Indonesian locals, which is probably why you don’t really hear about them that often. But this doesn’t mean Indonesian people don’t like books or enjoy reading. In fact, a lot of the local people you’ll meet are most likely bookworms themselves. Little did you know, Jakarta is actually home to a lot of really cool and unique libraries where you can lose yourself in really great books and escape the bustling city life of Jakarta.
Read also: 6 Best Bookstores in Jakarta
Here we provide a list of libraries in Jakarta that you should go check-out:
1. Perpustakaan Nasional RI (The National Library of Indonesia)
Housing the most complete collection of books in the whole city, Perpustakaan Nasional RI is the heart of knowledge in Jakarta. You will find tons of books with various genres ranging from fiction romantic novels to geopolitical guides.
The building itself is comprised of 27 floors – all filled with books. Each floor has its own sections for different genres and subjects. For example, you’ll be able to find children’s books, which consist of a great collection of national classics and has a colorful interior. You can also find books for the elderly there along with books in braille. If you don’t know what book you’re looking for and have some time on your hands, immediately head to the 21st or 22nd floor. Here you will find many books ranging from non-fiction to literature. Another great thing that might interest you is the various old newspapers, films, and ancient texts that you can go check out here. At this rate, you might even be able to learn about Jakarta’s vast history in one day.
For non-members of the library, you may not borrow and take home books from the library. That is why PNRI wants to ensure every visitor with great hospitality and comfort, therefore they also provide cozy sofas, sturdy tables, and plenty of power plugs, and free wifi. If you are interested in making a membership, you can head on down to the Membership Room and fill out an application (make sure to bring your ID).
Address: Jl. Medan Merdeka Sel. No.11, RW.2, Gambir, Kec. Senen, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10110
Telp: (021) 1500914
Monday to Thursday 8.30-18.00
Friday to Sunday 9.00-16.00
2. Rimba Baca
Having one of the coziest interiors ever, Rimba Baca is a family library made up of two floors that consist of both children and adult books. You will find that the first floor houses mostly children’s books, ranging from encyclopedias to fiction novels and activity books. Most of the books are in English but there also ones in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, Indian, and even Korean! There’s also a really cool art room for kids to have fun drawing and coloring.
The second floor comprises of adult books with genres such as fantasy, fiction, design, cooking, politics, biographies, comics, and religion. Again, the majority of the books are in English but there also some great Indonesian selections as well. There are sofas, chairs, and carpets provided for you to cozy up with your book.
This library also has a membership program to enter, but they don’t allow anyone to borrow the books to take home. For adult non-members who would like to immediately head to the 2nd floor, it cost Rp.30.000,00 (~$2). If you bring a child, it costs Rp.30.000,00 for them and Rp.10.000,00 for the accompanying adult. Although the membership program allows you to borrow books, it is more suitable/beneficial for a family because it cost Rp.375.000,00 per year (~$25).
Address: Jl. Intan RSPP No.21B, RW.2, Cilandak Bar., Kec. Cilandak, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12430
Telp: (021) 7664517
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00 – 19.00
3. OMAH Library
For those of you looking for books about architecture and design, the On Meeting Architecture Hub (OMAH) library is the perfect place for you. An as architecture himself, OMAH’s founder Realrich Sjarief aims to use this library to help rising architects have access to architectural books in Indonesia. You’ll be able to find around 1,500 theoretical books, case studies, and monographs.
Other than that, this library also contains fiction novels and book son philosophy in both English and Bahasa. The library is open to the public for free but you’re not allowed to take home any of the books. Before you can visit the library, make sure to contact them in advance because the library itself is located in Realrich Sjaief’s private studio.
Address: Kompleks Taman Villa Meruya, Taman Amarilis II Blok F2 No. 15, Tangerang
Opening Hours: Weekends 10.00-18.00
Established in 2014 by members of Cinema Poetica, Kwitang14 is a small quiet library that houses books on culture, design, and sociopolitical issues. Cinema Poetica is a group of film journalists, activists, critics, and researchers all sharing the love for films. It is located in Central Jakarta near Watt Coffee, Senen. You can find over English 200 books and can check their catalog online. There are 4 tables and 8 chairs provided, along with a cozy carpeted corner with lots of soft pillows for you to lie down. The majority of these books are donated by the members of Cinema Poetica themselves.
In order to read these books, you need to bring your ID with you. You are not allowed to borrow the books but are welcome to spend as long as you like. The great thing about this library is that you can even come and read their books outside of their opening hours by contacting them a day in advance. Kwitang14 also hosts an event called Nonton Dikwit, where you are invited to watch and participate in film discussions. There are no entrance or administrative fees.
Address: Jl. Kwitang Raya No. 14, Senen, Central Jakarta.
Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday 12.00-18.00 (contact in advance if you want to come outside of opening hours).
5. Freedom Institute Jakarta
For local bookworms, Freedom Institute is a familiar name. It quickly gained popularity due to its modern wide interior and cool Indonesian paintings. This library houses thousands of unique books with various genres and topics. There are also books published by the Freedom Institute themselves.
To enter the library, you need to become a member. You just need to fill out a form and show them your ID. There is no membership fee and you are immediately given your membership card.
This library provides free wifi, couches, desks, and even meeting rooms that are open to the public for no cost at all. A lot of university students tend to come here to study so it may be a little bit crowded during the weekdays. Furthermore, you are not allowed to borrow any books but you may photocopy the pages that you need.
Address: Wisma Bakrie, Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said No.Kav, B-1, Kuningan, Menteng, South Jakarta City
Telp: 021 3100349
Tuesday to Friday 10.00-18.00