The Minsiter of Culture and Fine Art, Nouth Narang, opened an exhibition of 1400
French books and more than 500 periodicals at the National Library on Jan
Cambodian officials acknowldeged the lack of texts existing in the
country for students. Narang said that the library was filled with students
studying and that his ministry was trying to open new libraries, especially in
One of Narang's senior officials went further, claiming
that Cambodia was still a "francophone" country and that the French texts would
help students in their studies.
The exhibition, a collaboration between
the French Embassy and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Art, posses some
important documents and histories about the French occupation period in
Indochina, according to officials at the opening. Subjects range from economics
to agronomy, and philosophy to law. The editions, valued at $60,000, were
subsequently donated to the Library and to educational institutions such as the
Faculty of Economics.
Coinciding with the opening, presided over by
Culture Minister Nouth Narang, was the inauguration of a data processing office
within the library. France has donated $40,000 worth of equipment, including
computers, software programs, microfilm reader and furniture. A further $25,000
worth of tools for the restoration of books will be given.
assistance and training is being provided by French librarians, archivists and
conservationists specialising in the preservation of ancient documents. In
1994, two librarians were sent on a training course in France's National
Conservation Centre, part of the National Library.
Agnes Senemaud, from
the Paris National Library, is helping to establish a close cooperation with
the library services here, and Director He Hin spent six months studying in
France last year.
Gerard Porcell, Cultural Adviser on International
Relations from the French Cultural Service, said that France's association with
the National Library dated from its construction in 1924, during the
protectorate. The library was created by Paul Boudet, director of the Libraries
and Archives of Indochina.
At the opening, Nouth Narang said: "Every day
this library is filled with students and office workers. The Ministry is trying
to find ways of creating more libraries in the provinces, too."
Chea, an archeologist and minister at the Ministry of Culture, added. "We don't
have enough books for our young people. We are still a francophone country, and
these books will help students everywhere."