The public library serves as a resource and learning centre for citizens and promotes the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 (Quality Education) through book exhibits, reading activities, and other initiatives for the community.

Creating an Immersive Reading Metaverse: AR Interactive Picture Books in Local Communities and Schools

Reading extends beyond the confines of traditional hardcopy formats. Using a wide range of technologies available today, Kaohsiung Public Library constructed an Augmented Reality (AR) Room in the International Picture Book Center at the Main Library. This endeavour has been made possible with the support of the central government’s Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development Program, which is an ongoing effort to build infrastructure for national development.

Kaohsiung Public Library brings AR and picture books together by offering four interactive experiences that takes advantage of AR technology and one-of-a-kind innovative coloring cards. This allows Kaohsiung Public Library to support SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by integrating AR technology with picture book creativity.

Additionally, to promote reading in the local communities and schools, Kaohsiung Public Library offers mobile library services that bring books from its International Picture Book Center to other branch libraries and schools. At the community level, in response to the Bilingual 2030 Policy[1], Kaohsiung Public Library integrated an AR game designed to increase awareness of protecting the marine environment. Titled “Protect the Ocean!”, the AR game allows parents and children to experience AR and be exposed to English picture books at the same time.

Kaohsiung Public Library also partners with the Education Bureau to promote the latter’s “Tablet Computer for All Students” Policy in schools. The programme uses AR games during picture book reading classes to enhance reading and digital literacy amongst students. Through the library’s outreach services, students from both rural and urban areas have equal opportunity to acquire new knowledge, experience new technological platforms, and experience the arts. This reduces the digital divide and promotes equality in reading and culture, supporting the goals of SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

Kaohsiung Public Library works with schools to create an immersive reading metaverse and promote digital reading through the government’s policy to provide each student with a tablet computer

English Mobile Library Trucks: Boundary-Free Library Services at Schools

To reduce inequalities, Kaohsiung Public Library offers outreach services that are not constrained by geographical limitations. An example of this is the English Mobile Library Service which was launched in 2021 when there was a rising demand for English books due to the government’s Bilingual 2030 Policy. In Taiwan, the price of a book written in English costs at least twice than a book in Mandarin. Furthermore, according to statistics released by the National Central Library, most primary schools and secondary schools in Taiwan do not have sufficient budget to purchase extracurricular books and cannot meet the reading demand for bilingual books. The English Mobile Library Services is not only a response to the Bilingual 2030 Policy, but also an opportunity to expand the English reading resources in schools and achieve resource equality to promote English reading among youths and teenagers.

Two English Mobile Library trucks travel around the city and provide mobile library services to various junior high schools, high schools, and vocational schools in Kaohsiung. Each truck carries 2,000 English reading materials recommended by reading-selection professionals This service enables students to gain access to English reading materials, which is a response to achieving SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities). The UN SDGs is one of the most popular focus areas in Taiwan, including schools. Hence, when the English Mobile Library truck was present at the campus-wide English Day hosted by Fu-Cheng Senior High School, students were asked to write SDG reports on reading and use English in their daily lives. Kaohsiung Public Library will continue to play its role as an intermediary in promoting sustainable development through a wide range of services.

English Mobile Library trucks from Kaohsiung Public Library at junior high schools, senior high schools, and vocational schools, bringing English books to students
English Mobile Library visited Fu-Cheng Senior High School in Kaohsiung City on
the Campus-wide English Day. Students were encouraged to write reading reports
on SDGs in English

Contributed by Kaohsiung Public Library

[1] The Bilingual 2030 Policy was launched in 2018 and aims to enhance Taiwan’s global competitiveness. Broadly, it aims to improve English proficiency in schools and encourage digital learning.