The National library of Indonesia – History & Purposes

Library, national libraryWhen you look at the history of the national libraries in different countries, then many people will find the fact that the beginning of a Library National collection started from a private collection.

For example, the Library of Congress begins with a private collection of Thomas Jefferson, The British Library begins with The Bodleyan Library collection pioneered by Sir Bodley.

Then, by using the approach of the collection, the description regarding Library National Republic of Indonesia should use as a sequence backwards or retrospective. This means that the discussion starts from the present backwards.

Law Decree

Based on Presidential Decree no.11 of 1989, the Library National Ministry of Education and Culture merged with Centre Coaching Library Education and culture department be a new institution. The new institute is named Library Indonesian National that is abbreviated as PNRI.

See also: Biggest Earthquake in Indonesia – Most Beautiful Fabric in Indonesia

In essence every national library has different history that created the organization in the first place, hence there were many different library that were created before. This in turn make the Indonesian government objectives to turn many library into one institution that are called National Library of Indonesia or (Perpusnas).

National Library of Indonesia is a non-ministry government institution that perform government duties in the field of library that serves as a library guidance, library reference, library deposit, a research library, library preservation as well as library network. all of them are located in the state capital. The National Library is in Jakarta and is directly accountable to the President.

The library administered essentially as a people library in company with several others library. The national library was founded in 1980 based on a regulation enacted by Education and Culture minister. There are the inclusion of four other different libraries that were scattered across Jakarta.

The widest selection derived from the library of the National Museum, opened in 1868 during dutch colonialism. A newly enacted library wing building was opened in 1988 with financial donation from then Indonesia president’s wife Tien Soeharto.

See also :


The national library is defined as following. The first is an institution, essentially funded by the State, extensively accountable for the collection, recording bibliographical, documentary heritage preservation and administer (especially publications of all kinds that were issued) materializing from or pertaining to a country. Then, it may also be responsible for efforts to implement the functional libraries in the country.

  • First Development

The libraries involved effectively and efficiently through a variety of tasks. Such as management of a significant collection to the state, the provision of infrastructure, coordination of activities of libraries and information systems in the country. Even the relationship with the international community in implementing leadership. Usually, these responsibilities are formally recognized, usually through Constitution.

National Library differs than other library. The National library kept some national publication in its list of book publications. The growth of National Library is tightly integrated with the consolidation of knowledge and culture in one’s country.

  • Founding

Meanwhile, the founding of National Library started in 1795 during France National Convention that announced a library. It once belonged solely for the king will now become national belonging and gave the National Convention the rights to acquire all the print publications. In lieu of this though a number of new nations that were founded after World War 2 then created many national library, a sign of de-colonization and democratic process to consolidate all the history and achievement the country has possessed.

a. Background

Since the reign of the Majapahit kingdom, that has produced many literary works, some of them still survive today. After Islam came to Indonesia, followed by with the growth of Islamic kingdoms in the country, that was also produced many papers Such as in the form of manuscripts, mysticism, yellow books, and so forth.

Then, the emergence of manuscripts in the form of fibers, yellow book, and bark tree are to be interpreted by several authors. It is known that many manuscripts were produced, mostly stored in the palace and houses of worship and set up for the purpose of religious instruction, but it does not prove the existence of a library.

1. General Uses

Meanwhile, to answer the question whether there is a national library in Indonesia, we can use several approaches. Such an approach is the approach of functions, concepts, and institutional collections. Function approach means that the use of this functions of a national library is to deposit the means storage that issue a state based on laws that require the sender or publisher send a sample print or publications to the library that were designated.

Then, the conceptual approach means that research on when and by whom the concept a national library began to put forward in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the concept must be stated in a publication or meetings. Approach the collection means research on core collection or the collection of anyone who became the beginning of national library collection.

See also: Poverty in Indonesia – Indonesian Democracy

2. Established

National Library of the Republic of Indonesia was established in 1989 pursuant to Presidential Decree number 11 in 1989. In the article 19 stated that the Development Center Library, National Library Department Education and Culture and the Regional Library in province organizational units that carry out the functions and duties of national libraries.

National Library of Indonesia (Perpusnas) background began with the establishment of Bataviaasch Genootschap in a 24 April 1778. This agency is a pioneer of the new National Library and was disbanded in 1950. Initially, the National Library is a manifestation of the implementation and development of a national system of libraries in a massive and integrated manner, since its founding that was proclaimed on 17 May 1980 by then Minister of Education and Culture, Daoed Joesoef.

On the other hand. until the 1980, Jakarta’s libraries were scattered across the capital city. However,  in 1989, the second lady of Indonesia, Ibu Tien Suharto, bring the library together under one management as the National Library of Indonesia or aptly named Perpusnas.

When the position is still in the Ministry of Education and Culture then echelon II under the Directorate General of Culture, and the Perpusnas was the result of the integration of the four major libraries in Jakarta. The four libraries, which is a organization of the subordinate General of Culture, are:

  • National Museum Library.
  • Library history , political and social (SPS).
  • Library area of Jakarta.
  • Bibliography field and the Deposit, the Library Development Center.

See also :  Sumatran Tigers – Indonesian Red Cross Society

3. Officially Opened

Although officially the National Library started in the middle of 1980 , but the integration of the entire building was conducted in January 1981. Until the year 1987 the National Library was located in three separate areas, namely on Merdeka Barat 12 (National Museum) street, Merdeka Selatan 11 (Library SPS) street and Imam Bonjol 1 (Manuscript Museum Proclamation) street.

Then, as head of the National Library is Mrs. Mastini Hardjoprakoso, MLS, the former head of the National Museum Library.

On the proposal of Mrs. Tien Suharto, through Yayasan Harapan Kita in which she is heading, the National Library obtained a donation land area of 16,000 m² over the following nine-storey new building and a renovated building. The land is located at 28A Salemba Raya street, Central Jakarta, it is the site of Koning Willem III School, the first middle school in Indonesia during the colonial period.

The schools building is then renovated into a main building used for head office and secretariat. Moreoever, the building next to the nine-story serves as an actual library, where the collection of library publications are stored and administered to the public.

With the completion of most of the new building construction and renovation at the beginning of 1987, the management and staff of the three division (except the Collection Division) has moved to that location.

The new building and all its equipment are uniting all activities under one roof that were previously scattered in several places in Jakarta. At the age of 9th National Library of Indonesia, officially opened the complex that was marked by the signing of a marble inscription by then President and Mrs. Tien Suharto on March 11, 1989.

See also : Indonesian Traditional Transportation –  Largest Mosque in Indonesia

b. Japanese Era

During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, all official dutch activity including departmental and organization were eliminated. Every office name was changed into Japanese name. At the time of Japanese occupation, there are no activities of librarians, because Japan mobilized all the power for the purposes of the war machine.

In the beginning of power, Japanese banned books in Dutch, English and other European languages. All high schools are closed. Only when Japan began forced some high schools to reopened that for the purposes of Japan propaganda do some library exists.

At the time Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetencshappen (Royal Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences) was closed down that in turn hindered the delivery of printed publications. It were sanctioned by previous government.

Hence, there were not much information that can be gleaned upon during Japanese occupation of Indonesia. However the society library able to withhold the conflict during the world war 2 and Japanese forces that occupied Indonesia decided not to mess with the affairs of the library due to the involvement of many Japanese scholars there. After the war is over then this society is renamed into Indonesia Institute of Culture before being dissolved in 1960s.

See also: Biggest Stadiums in Indonesia – Dayak Tribe

c. National Library After Independence

When you look at the historical development of libraries in Indonesia, one can be concluded that until the time of independence there has been no library nationally in Indonesia. T

here are only four types of libraries, There are:

  • Public libraries
  • Schools
  • Special Education
  • Higher education.

Then, there four types of libraries while the national library did not exist until the year 1945 raises the question why is there is no national library?

However, during the inauguration of the National Library complex, actually there are another events that should be taken notice. History records that five days earlier, precisely dated 6 March 1989, Indonesian president has signed a monumental decision that was made a Presidential Decree No. 11 of 1989 in which henceforth establishes the National Library, once merged with the Development Center Library (the leadership of Drs. Soekarman, MLS), to becomes the Institution of Non-Departmental government which is under the jurisdiction and responsible directly to the President.

 Enhancing the Role of Libraries

This increase in institutional status also means National Library was removed from the jurisdiction of the Directorate General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture (now the Ministry of Education), the former department that took care of the Library since 1980. Ms. Mastini Hardjoprakoso still trusted by the Government to lead the new institution. This fact also proves the Government’s commitment in enhancing the role of libraries and librarians, which has been perceived to has been “forgotten” by the government.

According to the record when the merger took place, the number of collection amounts to 600 thousand copies of books is staffed by about 500 employees located in two separate places, Jl. Salemba Raya 28A and Jl. Merdeka Selatan 11. Now However, it is estimated the number of collections reached 1.100.000, and the number of employees is 700 people.

See also: Unique Facts about Indonesia – Endangered Animals in Indonesia

On the other hand, with the increasing workloads and in line with the purpose of National Library in implementing excellent service to the mass community, then it was issued by the Presidential Decree No. 50 of 1997 dated 29 December 1997.

This presidential decree enhances the organizational structure, duties and functions of the National Library in order to anticipate the era of vast information that is already approaching, Among these enhancements is the creation of the post of deputy echelon IB and raising the status of the National Library of the Province (formerly Regional Library) into echelon II. Continuing the previous leadership, Hernandono, MA, MLS, the become the head of the National Library since October 1998.

The National Library has now become a national library in the reality sense, an institution that is not only serving member of an association of specific knowledge, but also serve members of the public from all walks of life. Although open to the public, the collection is closed and cannot be rented to take home. The service was not limited to the services for the development efforts of science alone, but also to meet the needs of library materials, especially in the field of social sciences and humanities, to the intellectual life of the nation.

See also:

Main Duties

The main duties of National Library is to maintains bibliographies of the state ideology Pancasila and Javanese manuscripts. As well as to also develop computer housekeeping system that up to the standards and to provide infrastructure coordination and informations system to the Indonesian government officials.

The duties of national library also include to register every books, magazine and newspaper that were publish in Indonesian territory and this duties were based on ministry decree.

National Library purposes within the Ministry of Education and Culture are as follows:

  • Carry out the collection, processing, development, and tapping library materials published in Indonesia as a deposit collection national
  • carry out the collection, processing, development, and tapping library materials with emphasis on social sciences and
    humanitarian and foreign publications on Indonesia
  • carry out the preparation and publication of national bibliography
  • duty as a center of inter-library cooperation in country, as well as with overseas
  • provide reference services study, bibliographic services and scientific information
  • implement the administrative affairs of the National Library

See also:

When you see the main duties of the National Library under the management of Ministry of Education and Culture that is functionally already qualified as a national library. However, when it is views from another opinion, especially a duties that carry out the collection, processing, development, as well as utilizing library materials published in Indonesia. The purpose is for collection of national deposit is not supported yet or some kind under certain specific deposit legislation.

Then, the National Library in the Ministry of Education and Culture could not qualify fully as a national library. This enigma is a decision that restricts social sciences and humanities growth that can be questioned because the subject did not cover all the objects.

It was allegedly thought that the scope is limited to social sciences and humanities that is influenced by the decisions Results. It may be more appropriate when the National Library in the Ministry Education and Culture formed in 1980 called the National Library of Science Social and Humanitarian, similar to the likes of the national library National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural or National Education Library.

See also:


The National library of indonesia provide all of the Indonesian people with its historic print publications, This national library also has other functions that is namely :

  • To preserve all recorded and printed publications regarding certain subject that happen in Indonesia.
  • To provide education exchange and training in library for book keeping
  • To publish national bibliographic and preserving it
  • To lent and provide book to customer
  • To act as a central planning for a library in one’s country


The purposes of national library is to provide a flexible space with a wide and inclusive range of resources to support learning and teaching throughout the Indonesian citizen. And to have a vibrant role in the development of a culture that promotes wider reading, motivated readers and learners for life.

Hence able to provide a place for collaborative learning, creativity, and for developing independent research and information literacy skills. To achieve this it should managed by trained professional staff, funded and accessible to the whole mass community during workday.


National Library uses is to provide the best collection of English literature and the best collection of literature of all other countries outside of each of these countries. The acquirement of all the print publication of all countries and all languages under one roof.

The importance of National Library lies in its collections and the ability of library’s employee to preserve all the collections in its pristine conditions. As the next generation will benefits greatly from the vast information that lies in the library. This information will play greater role in shaping the country generation towards better management and enhancing productive growth of one’s country.

See also : Indonesian Tea – Gamelan Facts

On the other hand, the main objectives of the various national libraries are the aspect of the collaborative side about universal bibliographic. Its useful for control of all books from all over the world. Therefore, we are expected to realize the intelligent of Indonesia through love reading by empowering library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.