The Queen Mother Library was inaugurated on Monday at the Sleu Rith Institute (SRI) on Preah Sihanouk Boulevard in Phnom Penh.
The library was established by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) and is named after Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.
The library consists of thousands of books and boxes of documents that historians say preserve Cambodia’s history.
DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang told The Post on Monday: “In this library, we have documents of the Khmer Rouge era, documents related to the late King father and documents of Cambodian families. We are storing them to preserve Cambodian history,” he said.
He said the library was established for young people as a place to study and conduct research to learn about their identities.
Chhang said he hoped it will contribute to the stability, peace and development of the nation.
“It means that if we don’t know ourselves and don’t know our history, we think development can overlap history, especially in a country that has seen conflicts and war for decades,” he said.
He said preserving history is of huge importance.
“The Queen Mother herself has always heeded this problem. So, we decided to name the library after her to express her confidence in history,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk said: “I would like to deeply thank Youk Chhang and the working group of SRI for establishing the Queen Mother Library. I am extremely excited that SRI decided to use my name.”
Chhang said the library comprises of over 3,000 books and 2,800 boxes of documents. The books and documents had been collected by Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres during many years of work in documenting the Royal Family and the history of Cambodia.
The library has more than 1.7 million pages of documents on the Khmer Rouge Genocide (1975-1979) that have been collected over the past two decades.
The library also contains thousands of voice and visual recordings of interviews of Khmer Rouge victims. There are various other media, including photographs, films and high-quality digitised audio recordings conveniently accessible by the public.
Cambodian historian Diep Sophal told The Post on Monday that the establishment of the library is important because it is a place to preserve documents for research and study.
“The building of this library is to store documents that enable us to easily conduct research into the original sources of stories,” he said.