The first Library Festival in Cambodia is being organised by the National Library of Cambodia in cooperation with the ministries of Information, Education, and Culture and Fine Arts, as well as the Librarian and Documentalists Association. This event will include the 6th Cambodia Book Fair 2017 on Dec. 8-10.
According to Klot Vibolla, director of the National Library of Cambodia and deputy head of the Books and Reading Department the Library Festival will happen at the same time as the Book Fair because they have a common purpose and goal of promoting reading in Cambodia.
“In parallel, these events want readers, scholars, researchers, and the public to be aware about the services and roles of libraries. Last year, about 25,000 people attended. However, we expect 45,000 people to join us this year,” Ms Vibolla said.
Kim Chantraboth, a library technician at the Royal University of Law and Economics, explained that the Library Festival was initiated to show what services libraries offer. Also, it shows the role of libraries in social development.
“Library festivals exist in almost every country around the globe. However…the purposes and goals are the same,” said Mr Chantraboth.
He added there will be booths that show products and services of libraries in Cambodia. Importantly, they will exchange books, and answer questions about the activities of libraries. Each library will be involved in meeting a specific UN sustainable development goal (SDG).
“My library chose the 16th SDG because it deals with peace, justice and strong institutions, which are relevant to this festival. Mostly, people think that libraries are just places to store books, especially people in remote areas who don’t understand the value and role of libraries. Beside this event, we want to create mobile libraries to let children have access to books and promote awareness about the importance of libraries,” Mr Chantraboth said.
Huy Roseka, Cambodia Library Festival committee member and senior librarian at CamEd Business School, mentioned that there will be 10 libraries in Phnom Penh exhibiting their products at this upcoming event.
“Since we have a short time and it is our first year, we are strongly focused on SDGs goals as this aligns with tangible government policies in promoting economic growth. CamEd chose the 8th goal, which focuses on economic growth. Next year, we will return and find another theme,” said Ms Roseka.
She suggested that youth should attend the festival because the important thing is they can exchange their books with others, even if they are marked or old. They also can learn many things from the booths at the event.