Librarian Day aims to instill culture of reading

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Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron speaks at Monument Books. KT/Srey Kumneth

A workshop was held recently to mark Librarian Day, an event initiated by Monument Books. The workshop brought together educational professionals, school teachers, and librarians to address the serious lack of primary and secondary educational materials in Cambodia.

Speaking at the event recently, Meng Heang, managing director of Monument Books, said he believed that printed books are still one of the most effective tools for delivering quality education. Being able to actually see and handle a physical book is still the
most popular teaching method, he said.

Mr Heang continued, “Through this event Monument Books reaffirms its commitment to schools and educational standards in general by providing access to an enormous selection of titles on topics like STEM subjects, social issues, history, geography, and ESL”.

He said the workshop aimed to help school libraries develop resource centres, either in partnership with school operators or with provincial governments. He this would enable them to offer more study materials to students and improve the quality of the country’s future human resources pool.

Singaporean Ambassador Michael Tan praised Monument Books’ initiative, saying it provided educational professionals and institutions with a better understanding of the services, resources, and expertise needed to develop resource centres and libraries.

He added, “This effort to promote reading and learning is an important ingredient in the process of sharing knowledge. It represents a social pillar supporting Cambodia’s education system, and a timely complement to the ongoing reforms initiated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport”.

The ambassador said that with today’s technology, an online search can offer thousands of possible materials on a topic within seconds. However, people have to navigate those suggestions and decide what is relevant and accurate, and which are false facts or pseudoscience. Google can offer people thousands of answers, but a library can offer reliably accurate materials, he said.

Mr Tan concluded by stating that libraries establish a solid environment for knowledge resources for students and general readers. He said they are vital for teachers, researchers and individual students. He congratulated Monument Books on the success of Librarian Day.

Education, Youth and Sport Minister Hang Chuon Naron said the Librarian Day initiative was a good way to promote reading, and expressed his appreciation to Monument Books. Reading is one of the most important priorities of the ministry’s new reforms, he said.

“It is really important that students start reading at a very young age, because it creates a lifelong habit. Our reform strategy involves motivating parents to send their children to kindergartens, schools, libraries, and bookstores and to instill a culture of reading,” Mr Naron said.

With the emergence of new technologies and tools like Facebook, young people actually are reading more, the minister said. However, they often don’t know how to evaluate what they are reading. A lot of content is useless or irrelevant to their daily lives, he said, adding that this makes it all the more important to increase access to quality books.

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