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[NEWS] Mobile Library Carrying Books in 5 Southeast Asian Languages Brings Immigrant Workers Closer to Home with Regular Visits to Factories and Dormitories


          The Kaohsiung Public Library (KPL) Mobile Library has undergone a complete transformation, and the new Mobile Library 2.0 includes a book truck full of books from Southeast Asia. The new mobile library is donated by the members of Rotary International from District 3510 and painted with various elements representing Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand. The mobile library contains 2000 books in 5 different languages and makes regular visits to factories and dormitories of immigrant workers. This initiative provides an opportunity for Southeast Asian immigrant workers in Kaohsiung to check out books from their home countries and bring them closer to home. 

          Our initial Southeast Asian Mobile Library was modified from a music and information mobile truck. Due to its age, the old mobile library occasionally suffered from issues such as gullwing doors not able to open. The addition of a new mobile library is welcomed by our Southeast Asian friends. Painted with colorful elements representing Southeast Asian cultures and greetings in Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Tagalog, the immigrant workers hope Kaohsiung residents can take this opportunity to learn more about their cultures and heritage while thanking KPL’s continuous efforts to support the Southeast Asian Mobile Library project. To show their appreciation, several immigrant workers performed traditional Southeast Asian dances and prepared sweets at the Mobile Truck Donation Ceremony. 

          Current President of Kaohsiung Rotary International C.F. Tsai mentioned that Rotary International emphasizes the spirit of "Service Above Self" and "One Profits Most Who Serves Best), which matches the phrase "Those who provide are more fortunate than those who receive!". Rotary International gathers leadership talents from various fields regardless of race, religion, gender, or political preference and provides humanitarian services to those who need helps. The KPL initiative received the support of many Rotarians and collected enough donations within three days to acquire a new mobile library and adopted sufficient I-Reading extracurricular books for elementary school students. Such passion demonstrated by these Rotarians is truly touching and deserves recognition.     

          Most Southeast Asian immigrant workers hold a 3-year working visa, therefore our staff encounters new faces, and many newly arrived immigrant workers often gather around the mobile library looking for books to check out. According to our compiled data, Filipinos prefer novels and literature, Indonesians like short novels and recipes, Vietnamese love fashion magazines, and periodicals. Many immigrants enjoy the mobile library so much that they often provide their recommended book lists to us. Also, immigrant workers take good care of books and always return them in excellent condition. The Southeast Asian Mobile Truck is always accompanied by two interpreters providing language assistance to immigrant workers and explaining to them how to apply for a library card and how to return books. One of the interpreters is Ms. Hsu Jing-ying, who came from Indonesia and has been married to a Taiwanese and living in Kaohsiung for 20 years. As an interpreter for the Immigration Bureau and the Social Affairs Bureau, Ms. Hsu understands the nostalgia and homesick feeling felt by these immigrant workers. She also voluntarily created a social media group to encourage more immigrants to visit the mobile library and borrow books.  

          According to KPL Director Pan Cheng-yi, the Southeast Asian Mobile Library makes regular visits to various export processing zones in Kaohsiung as well as the Labor Park, and immigrant worker dormitories in Cianjhen and Daliao. These are areas frequented by immigrant workers from Southeast Asia. Recent data shows that there are more than 50,000 Southeast Asian immigrant workers in Kaohsiung. Compared to foreign brides who can speak Chinese to a certain degree in order to communicate with their children, most immigrant workers cannot listen, speak, read, or write in Chinese. As a result, by providing these immigrant workers books written in their languages, KPL hopes to bring our friends closer to home and foster more friendly exchanges. 


President of Kaohsiung Rotary International C.F. Tsai (left) representing Rotary International to donate the Southeast Asian Mobile Library.

KPL Director Pan Cheng-yi (Left) presenting a certificate of appreciation

KPL hosting the Kaohsiung Rotary Club Southeast Asian Mobile Library Donation Ceremony

Vietnamese readers choosing books to check out

Southeast Asian dance performances (from left) at the Donation Ceremony by immigrants from Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia

Updated2020-06-30 AM 09:08:01