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Pondok Pekak Library and Learning Centre

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Ubud is lauded as Bali’s cultural centre to the point of cliché, but what’s culture without books? This was the thought of expat Laurie Billington (1958-2009) when she and her Balinese husband Made Sumendra set up Pondok Pekak Library and Learning Centre in 1995.





As a lover of books since she was “old enough to chew on them” she was dismayed that most Balinese had almost no access to books, as well as being starved for reading matter herself and so the idea of starting a library was born. Implementing a “Robin Hood” approach to fundraising enabled them to buy a small selection of Indonesian children’s books and they began networking with local schools. Kids were thrilled they could read for free, and the crowds began to arrive. Podok Pekak is tucked away on the edge of the football field in central Ubud where Made continues to keep Laurie’s legacy alive.

Not your typical library. Photo taken in or around Pondok Pekak Library and Learning Centre, Ubud, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Not your typical library. Photo: Sally Arnold

As the “victims” in this Robin Hood tale, travellers have access to a terrific local library and a variety of classes for a small fee. We love the smell of an old book, even in this day of downloads and e-book convenience and Pondok Pekak’s lending library is a delightful treasure trove full of page-turning bestsellers in several languages, an extensive non-fiction section with many guide books and rare and esoteric volumes on Indonesian and Balinese culture. More than books, you can even borrow tarot cards (it is Ubud after all).

Read for free in their upstairs “reading sanctuary” (although it was under renovation when we dropped in) — they have free WiFi too, or join to borrow books and read all you can for 50,000 rupiah per month (or 250,000 rupiah per year). You can also rent books for 2,000 rupiah per day (minimum three days). All memberships and rentals require a refundable deposit. Considering it’s hard to find a secondhand book in Ubud for under 50,000 rupiah, we think it’s a ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Pondok Pekak Library and Learning Centre
Across the football field from Jalan Monkey Forest. Entry via the laneway off Jalan Dewi Sita
Daily 09:00–17:00
T: (0361) 976 194 
librarypondok@yahoo.com
http://www.pondokpekaklibrary.com
Admission: Free

Location map for Pondok Pekak Library and Learning Centre

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