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A look at the Kingdom's best libraries

A look at the Kingdom's best libraries

National Library of Cambodia

As Cambodia’s preeminent library, NLC plays an important role in collecting, preserving and providing access to the nation’s documented heritage as well as providing information to support education, government and research.

Reestablished in 1980, NLC now has nearly 100,000 books, not including journals and magazines, divided into collections such as the Cambodiana Collection and the Royal Collection, according to Khlot Vibolla, director of NLC.

If you want to search for old archives like books or journals, NLC is the place to do it, with 23,000 volumes archived to date. Not only that, but you can enjoy the beautiful French architecture that lets air flow through the building.

Despite NLC having more books than any other library in the Kingdom, most of the books are difficult to access. Students or researchers can only read or copy some of the books and journals. NLC also provides access to their lending collection for 4,000 riel for Cambodian students and 8,000 riel for everyone else.

The library is open on weekdays from morning to evening with a lunch break, which is rather inconvenient for most students, who only have free time when the library is closed.

Pannasastra University Main Library

Pannasastra University of Cambodia is a private university, but its library, staffed by professional librarians, is open for everyone. “We try our best to offer readers friendly service and hope that they will come back again,” said Mao Kolap, director of PUC’s library system.

Established in 2000, PUC’s Library has roughly 26,000 books in its catalogue plus 50,000 items such as DVDs, VCDS and CDs. With an online catalog, the 300-400 daily visitors can easily search for whatever they want. They also have electronic resources like Hinari that include databases, e-texts and web directories.

PUC also has joined a project with the US Embassy called the American Corner, which has a diverse collection of books focusing on the United States.

With the comfort of air-conditioners and a large reading area with cozy chairs and tables, students can enjoy their time researching and studying at the library. Although wireless internet access is only available to PUC students, there are computers with free Internet available for public use.

Hun Sen Library at RUPP

With its position at the heart of Cambodia’s biggest university, Hun Sen Library is one of the most frequented places for students to read, research, surf the internet and gain knowledge.

Located on the campus of the Royal University of Phnom Penh and established in 1997 with support from national and international partners, Hun Sen library now has roughly 62,000 books in languages that include Khmer, English, French, Japanese and Chinese.

Open from Monday to Saturday, Hun Sen library attracts almost 3,000 visitors per week, proof that there is a thirst for knowledge among Cambodia’s student population. Members of the public are welcome to use the vast resources available at the Hun Sen library but must first apply for a membership card. The card costs between 8,000 and 20,000 riel depending on who you are and where you are from, and you must put down a $20 deposit to borrow books.

Because the library is often packed with students and visitors, the atmosphere in the library is rather stuffy and uncomfortable, but its vast collection of information keeps curious people coming back.

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