Since its establishment on 24 January, 2005, Thailand Knowledge Park, or TK park as it is popularly known, continues to foster reading and creative learning in children and juveniles while relentlessly developing its primary facility — the country’s first ever knowledge park — situated on the eighth floor of Central World shopping complex. Dubbed a role model for the “living library”, TK park contributes to encouraging the public and private sectors to turn their attention to creating more public learning spaces. Our organisation has collaborated with local administrative bodies to create a total of 29 regional and provincial TK park facilities in 25 provinces.
Dr. Tassanai Wongpisetkul, Vice President of the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (OKMD) and TK park Director, said that over the past decade TK park had remained stead fast in its core mission to develop prototype learning centres, instill a love of reading and knowledge-seeking in young people, and expand its alliance network to help make all facilities relevant to local contexts, as well as build a truly knowledge-based society.
The expansion of our network across all regions of the country has made the living library concept well known and no longer an unusual development for Thai society. But whether our work will continue to succeed will depend on local context and residents, DrTassanai believes.
TK park passes on knowledge about living libraries to teachers and librarians across the country through a contest called “TK Living Library Award”, held every two years. Workshops on this topic have been held annually for 10 years, with staff from more than 800 agencies taking part. The participants can subsequently relay the knowledge gained from the workshops to other members in their communities.
With the belief that learning is a never-ending process, Dr. Tassanai said TK park staff continues to work tirelessly, especially in human development. The agency compiles and manages knowledge resources concerning reading and active learning, and it disseminates them to target groups in print materials and digital media. Activities for children and juveniles are meticulously designed to develop their potential.
“A library is not just a place to house books. We do not build them to keep books but to encourage people to come in and exchange knowledge, leading to the building of a knowledge-based society,” Dr. Tassanai noted.
“Books are useless if left untouched on a shelf. But when we connect books with other learning processes and activities, they deliver value to people. Even a few books can make a ‘living library’ if we know how to use them.”
Among the activities held to celebrate TK park’s 10th anniversary were the Jood Pra kai Fun (Sparking Dreams) exhibition which featured a look at the decade-long history of TK park, ten selected inspirational stories about reading and learning and in-depth knowledge on such topics with the aim of creating participatory experiences. A giant book model and displays of different types of libraries, shown in small scale, were some gimmicks that grabbed the attention of attendees.
We also held seminars and workshops: “Skills for the 21st Century”, a special workshop by Piyaporn Manthajitm, manager of Siam Commercial Bank’s Siam Kammajon Foundation; “Global Trend Book 2015”, a seminar by Wanchai Tantiwitthayapitak and Tomorn Sukpreecha;“Reader Theatre: Read, Play, Enjoy”, a workshop by Assoc. Prof. Pornrat Damrong of Chulalongkorn University and Silpathorn artist Nikorn Sae Tang of 8 x 8 Theatre Group.
A fun-filled activity known as TK Jang Kerd Kla Fun (TK Rising Star, Dare to Dream) was held in January and February, 2015 to thank members and patrons of TK park on this auspicious occasion. The event showcased works created by young people who had taken part in our youth development programmes and visited our public space to share knowledge, intelligence and inspiration.