By Jaya L
Surabaya - Behind the only gates that are opened along Dr. Cipto street in Surabaya, the white building seems smaller compared to other structures surrounding it. There’s no obvious, big sized signage, just simple letters forming the word ‘Books’ near the entrance. On the tiny veranda, a cafe table with two seats. There’s nothing special on the outside of the building, but once you stepped inside, immediate coziness surounds you. Shelves filled with books framed the room. In the middle of the room are several comfy chairs and a rug on the floor with pillows on it. The room was decorated with simple knick-knacks, making it seems like a leisure room in a house where we could sit and relax while reading books or watching films. This is a library named c2o.
Don’t be mistaken, books aren’t the only thing available in this library. At the end of February 2012, the library had its first music event, an acoustic showcase of Afternoon Talk, an indie band hailing from Lampung. The show was a part of the promotion of Love Letter album that had been touring the island of Java. Starting from half past six in the evening, the show was opened with a soft rendition of Joan Baez’s Donna Donna by Handoko Suwono with his guitar, followed by two other classic numbers. Audience were crowding even more throughout the next performers, Karnivorus Vulgaris.
The music event also presented several other indie musician and music groups, among them were the Yogyakartan Bagus Dwi Danto who mesmerized the audience with an interactive performance art as he sang one of his song titled Mars Perahu Kertas; Sonarsoepratman whose songs are distinctive with the Indonesia 1960s nuances; also Taman Nada and Silampukau, which seems to be popular in Surabaya music scene. At the peak of the event, Afternoon Talk performed and presented five of their songs. The event was simple with minimal publication, yet enthusiastic audience filled c2o space until some had to stand outside.
c2o is actually derived from the abbreviation of the library’s address, Cipto 20. Operating since 2008, the was established by Kathleen Azali, or better known as Kat, from her own private collection. The Institut Teknologi 10 Nopember (ITS) Visual Communication Design alumni loves book so much and before she realized it her collection had reached thousands in number. Eager to stimulate the interest to read, Kat decided to share her collection in the form of public library.
With donation from her closest friends at the beginning of the library, also with book hunts done by Kat herself, the books in c2o collection has reached 4000 titles. Most of them are books rarely found in the market or rarely distributed in Surabaya, and very little comics. This is intentional and a unique feature of c2o, distinguishing it with other “library” or “book rental” commonly and previously known by the surrounding society.
Aside of books, c2o also has a collection of films that now has reached 900 titles. The collection in the form of DVD, VCD and VHS consisted of various indie and classic film in various genre. The collection of c2o library can be accessed by anybody, by registering as member with annual fee and paying an affordable amount of borrowing fee for each material. But not all books can be borrowed and brought home. Several books in the special collection category can only be read in the library, for example books on design or books that are truly rare.
c2o is now more known, not only within the limited groups of book lovers, but also to film lovers and other communities. Aside of their regular activities, the volunteers of this small library often held many events. Through these events, c2o attracts attention and reaching far more communities to access and/or to contribute into their collection.
c2o routinely held movie watching events and book discussions with certain theme, also Manic Street Walkers a unique group of walkers who dilligently appreciate the city of Surabaya architecture and city plans by foot.
The non-regular activities of c2o are even more interesting, for example the music event mentioned above, or short movie screenings and presentations from Indonesian young film / documentary makers followed by discussions in the library. And then there’s a collaboration between c2o and the Hifatlobrain Travel Institute, creating a fascinating experimental programme in which they invite a travel blogger and illustrator from Jakarta named Herajeng Gustiayu for a month residency in Surabaya. During this time Herajeng experienced Surabaya and collaborates with Redi Murti, a young Surabayan visual artist, and produce a series of water colour illustration on the city. The experimental programme is followed by an exhibition of the residency results, a travel writing workshop inviting Yudasmoro Minasiani and Teguh Sudarisman, also a collaboration event with Manic Street Walkers in the form of walking and sketching the city port Tanjung Perak on mid March 2012.
There are also quite serious programmes in c2o, for example a series of design events titled Do It Yourself (DIY) that had been held by c2o since last October 2011. The event includes DIY Talks each weekend, reviewing various disciplines of design starting from introduction to design, typography, design business and management, fashion, branding, digital media design, comic, urban art to urban planing in a non-formal discussion, also screenings of films on design (DIY Screening) related to the discussion. On 16 March 2012 c2o will present and held a discussion to report the results of their activities before organizing another one next October 2012.
c2o latest project is titled AYOREK, which will be launched next 25 March 2012 with an open discussion, inviting Surabayan communities and individuals to share about urban contemporary issues. Ayorek is a platform to collect and organize knowledges in Surabaya, represent it in an interesting and easily accesible forms; infography, comic, video, and so on.
These various activities and events make c20 a different and special kind of library, far from the stereotype of boring bookworms. For more information on c2o you can access http://c2o-library.net