HCM CITY (VNS) HCM City has 24 district libraries and many universities and college libraries but a lack of funding and poor management has strained the library system.
|Readers search for books at the HCM City General Sciences Library. A lack of funding and poor management has strained the library system in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Do
Most librarians are concerned that, with shortages in new books and periodicals, they can no longer attract young readers, particularly students who carry a heavy load of lessons and homework.
"I don't like reading books at my school's library," said a third-year student at HCM City's Technical Teachers' University (HTTU). "It's run down and has only old books. I read books or research online for my exams at home."
A librarian at HTTU said that "most of our books are out-of-date, with many published in the 1980s or even earlier."
"We've got only one or two copies of most of the high-demand science and technology books," she added.
Each library receives several dozen million dong each year from the city to buy new books and periodicals.
Bui Xuan Duc, director of the city's General Sciences Library, said that funding for his library had recently increased but book and periodical prices were also increasing.
"We simply can't provide enough good material for readers, particularly teachers and students from universities and institutes," he said.
Established in 1968, the library is one of the largest in the region, and serves as a depository for international organisations like the World Bank, UNESCO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
With its huge collection of more than 500,000 books, newspapers and journals, 4,000 microfilms, CD-ROMs, music, maps, videos and more, the library is a rich resource for students, researchers, teachers, foreign scholars and local residents. "To improve our business, we have worked to hold a book-exchange agreement with more than 30 libraries and information centres across the globe," said Duc.
He added that the library in co-operation with its foreign partners, including South Korea-based SK Telecom and Amcham member United Way International, would offer new computers and telecommunications technology to fulfill the needs of its visitors more efficiently.
Around 30 computers and PCs can be used by low-vision visitors.
According to Huynh Cong Hung, head of the city's People's Council's Culture and Society Office, a project to improve libraries and create a co-operative library system should be completed.
"Libraries should improve internet connections, and a library network would help students share information related to their studies," he said.
Hung said that the city government planned to provide more funding for the library system and for training talented librarians. — VNS