Chinese Association for Foreign Spouses and Labor’s Voice secretary-general Chang Cheng (張正) is calling on “voluntary book carriers to bring back books from Southeast Asian countries to give Taiwan’s migrant workers and foreign spouses more opportunities to read in their own language.
The movement is called “Bringing Back Books That You Cannot Read,” said Chang, who is the former editor-in-chief of Four Way Voice, a newspaper published in several Southeast Asian languages.
Taiwan has about 500,000 to 600,000 migrant workers and 200,000 to 300,000 spouses from Southeast Asia, Chang said.
“While there are books in Southeast Asian languages in a few major libraries in Taiwan, they are not many and they are usually hard to find in big libraries,” he told the Taipei Times.
Chang opened the nation’s first Southeast Asian bookstore in Taoyuan, which also lends out books for free.
Many bookstores, professors’ study rooms and even restaurants that are frequented by migrant workers have joined the initiative, serving as locations for donors to drop books, Chang said.
“Those located in neighborhoods where many Southeast Asians reside have also agreed not only to accept books from book carriers, but also to serve as local libraries for people to read books written in their own language,” Chang said.
A book carrier can be anyone who visits Southeast Asia for tourism, business, studies or volunteer work, and is willing to spare some room in their luggage to transport the books, he said.
“The books could be bought from stores, given by friends or even picked up from the streets,” he said.
Book carriers can leave their name or write something inside expressing their feelings before dropping the books at one of those locations, Chang said.
Visit www.facebook.com/events/731877436919076/?pnref=story (帶一本自己看不懂的書回台灣) for a list of book dropping locations.
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