It was a hot weekend in Phnom Penh, but the blazing heat of the sun didn’t deter people of all ages from coming into the Cambodia National Library to celebrate the Cambodia Book Fair.
Held from December 7 to 9, the event attracted over 13,000 people who were all interested in Khmer and foreign literature.
There were about 110 book stalls and thousands of books displayed in the spacious venue, as people hopped from shelf to shelf to look for books they’re eager to read and buy.
Themed “more reading, more opportunities”, the book fair was designed to nurture Khmers’ love for literature and promote the habit of reading among young people. It is also aimed to raise awareness on the availability of Khmer and foreign books, and to foster a passion for writing among Cambodians.
Tang Kimheng, a junior International Studies student of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said the he was impressed by the huge number of people who turned out for the event. Their participation, he said, is a strong proof the Cambodians understand the benefit of reading books.
“We’re all book lovers; some of us just haven’t found the right book yet,” Kimheng shared.
He further noted, “Cambodia Book Fair is a great platform to remind Cambodian people, especially the youth, the reading can benefit is in variety of ways, from enriching our knowledge to promoting state development and human capital”.
Sam Minea, a freshman from Royal University of Phnom Penh, also joined the three-day book fair. She said that she acknowledges the importance of reading especially for students like her.
“Reading is obviously compulsory for me because it can broaden my general knowledge as well as get to know more about the society that I’m living in. Last but not least, reading also improves my creativity,” she said, adding that she has learned to be more creative, critical and flexible because of reading.
Lour Kimmeng, also shared the same impression of reading. He said he enjoys reading all sorts of books and gains a significant benefit from doing so.
The book fair, which is an annual event organised by the Cambodian National Library, has seen an increase in the number of participants year after year. It has become an effective campaign for reading and for the love of Cambodian literature in entirety.