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More communes have libraries but lack funds to buy new books

Update: March, 29/2018 - 11:00
Young readers at the HCM City General Science Library, one of the region’s leading libraries. — Photo courtesy of the HCM City General Sciences Library
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY —  Việt Nam increased its number of libraries in communes to 3,257 last year, a growth of 20 per cent compared to 2016, according to a forum on the country’s library system held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Library Department in HCM City on Wednesday.

The library system has 41 million copies of books serving 29 million readers, a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent.

Dr. Vũ Dương Thúy Ngà, head of the Library Department, said the department has worked with partners, book distributors and publishers to promote the reading habit as well as libraries in communes and reading rooms in communities.

It has also encouraged more cultural groups in minority regions, the highlands and islands as well as remote and border areas.

“We’ve used new methods to improve libraries in communes and districts in recent years,” he said. “But a lack of funding and management has put the library system under strain.”

“Many librarians are concerned that with shortages of new books and periodicals they won’t be able to attract readers. And young people, particularly students, may no longer have time for libraries because of lessons, homework and entertainment activities,” she added.

“A long-term project on improving libraries and create a co-operative library system should be completed,” she said.

In HCM City, there are 24 district libraries and many university and college libraries. Each library receives tens of millions of đồng a year from the city’s fund for operation.

The HCM City General Sciences Library, however, faces challenges because book and periodical prices have increased while the fund is limited.

"We simply can’t provide enough good material for readers, particularly teachers and students from universities and institutes," said a spokesperson for the library.

Established in 1968, the library is one of the region’s leading libraries. It has worked with more than 30 libraries and information centres across the world and international organisations like the World Bank, UNESCO, and Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The library has more than 500,000 books, newspapers and journals, and 4,000 microforms, CD-ROMs, music, maps and videos, among other works.

Computers and telecommunication technology are also used to serve readers.  

The An Giang Province Library has improved internet connections and developed mobile library system to serve readers in remote areas.

Thanks to the mobile system, several thousand titles of books, magazines and comics in Vietnamese, English and French, as well as computers, are available for people in rural communities. — VNS


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