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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - National Library collection boosted by gift of French texts

National Library collection boosted by gift of French texts

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

16.

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

the provinces.

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.

Technical

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."

Ouk

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."

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