ATTENTIVE BOY. A young Palauan boy listened attentively to the story told in Palauan language by a librarian at the Palau Public Library on November 15, 2018. The library has noted that interest in reading among young Palauans is poor hence they are making efforts to encourage the kids to read books by conducting storytelling program. (Photo by Rhealyn C. Pojas)

The Palau Public Library has observed that only few Palauan kids are now into reading as gadgets and other technologies are now competing for their attentions.

Head Librarian Mary Arius said that the library had been doing storytelling program for kids since 2008 to cultivate reading interest among the youth but it has been observed that there had been more kids who frequented the library before compared to the present.

Arius said that reading habit among kids had been affected by technology and it has become a challenge for the library to encourage them to read.

“When I first started working here, there were a lot of highschool kids and elementary kids that are coming in to read,” Arius said, adding that some kids now would just go to the library to avail of free Wi-Fi access. Arius, however, emphasized that their job is not to limit their services to the library users but just to encourage them to read more books.

To address the problem, the library, together with the US Embassy and the Civic Action Team (CAT), has come up with the Story Time program to cultivate reading interest among the young kids.

The US Embassy’s Story Time is conducted every Wednesday at the Palau Public Library from 3-4pm. The program has even come up with a reading challenge where children between ages 6 and 11 who will be able to read 10 books from the library will receive rewards such as free Gelato.

Those who are interested to participate in the challenge can get a reading punch card at the library during Story Time. The punch card will be used to record each book that a participant has finished reading until it reaches to 10 books. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)