lundi, janvier 07, 2008

Cambodia by the book

News of Cambodia N° 0801

The library Mark Twain Of Long Beach Looks to acquire books in Cambodian language

Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
January 3rd, 2008

We start the New Year 2008 by publishing below the first good news. It comes from the United States of America. A delegation of Mark Twain Library in Long Beach (Los Angeles) is on the way to Cambodia to buy books in Cambodian language, for the library itself and for the other libraries of Long Beach as well.

By buying books published in Cambodia, in particular books in Cambodian language, the library Mark Twain on one hand gives some value to the Cambodian language and on the other hand to all the printers of Cambodia. We wish to this delegation many purchases and good discoveries among which the dictionaries and grammars. We wish that this delegation makes connection with cambodian universities in cambodian language, in particular the University of Language to encourage the Professors and the students to develop our national language, which is the base of our national identity. We wish that this visit marks the beginning of durable relation between the library of our University of Language in Phnom Penh and Mark Twain Library.

We wish that Mark Twain Library encourages the opening of schools to teach the Cambodian language to the Cambodian young people to make them proud of their cultural inheritance bequeathed by the Angkor civilization ancestors.

We wish that Mark Twain Library opens a library for books, magazines, DVD or CD etc. printed or reproduced in Cambodia and sold with moderate prices; or finds a bookshop and makes shelf for books and other cultural materials from Cambodia. We wish that the Cambodian community of Long Beach welcomes this good news in heart and participate actively to this program.

We know that in Long Beach, American personalities helped Sophiline Cheam Shapiro to adapt the Cambodian ballet dance to interpret the famous and last opera of Mozart's will called “Flutte Enchantée”, composed some months before his death. Sophiline was able to produce this adaptation, supervised by the great American director specialist of Mozart Peter Sellars, in Schlosstheater Schönbrunn (equivalent to Vienna in Austria of the Versaille castle in France), from 9 till 13 December 2006, during the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birthday. Then this adaptation of this famous opera of Mozart has just been played in New York at “Joyce Theater” in Manhattan from 9 till 14 October 2007.

We also wish to honor the memory of the American of Swedish origin, Ingrid Muan, who found the Reyum Institute and who gave a boost to the culture, to the art and to the Cambodian language. Regrettably she had died in a mysterious death in 2005, at the age of 40.

We wish that the other American libraries, in particular the big Library of the Congress help us to develop the distribution of books in Cambodian language.

We wish that Mark Twain Library helps us to translate into Cambodian American books, in particular the works of Mark Twain and publish it.

The friendship between Cambodia and the United States of America is strengthened durably by this cultural link of literary knowledge exchange.

Below articles on the delegation of Mark Twain Library in Cambodia.

Annexes :

Library Staff On Mission In CambodiaBy Carla M. ColladoStaff Writer

Two Mark Twain Library staff members left for Cambodia yesterday (Wednesday), not for a vacation, but rather to buy Khmer books and materials for their library, as well as the rest of Long Beach’s public libraries.

The newly renovated Mark Twain Library — which opened in August 2007 — already has one of the largest Cambodian collections in the state. However, the library has been unable to purchase new books and materials for the past five years, as local and regional vendors’ supplies have depleted.

Susan Taylor and Lyda Thanh will visit the two Cambodian cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap until Jan. 15 to refresh the library’s collection. Taylor, who is the branch librarian at Mark Twain, will be in charge of selecting new materials for the children’s, teen and adult collections. Taylor said the Cambodian materials at Mark Twain always have been heavily used.

“We need more books!” Taylor said in a release. “We don’t want to lose any of our patrons because they have read everything in the collection and there is nothing new to entice them back to the library.”

Thanh is a homework helper at Mark Twain’s family learning center, and is also a Cambodian who speaks, reads and writes Khmer. She will facilitate purchasing decisions and cataloging of the new materials during the trip.

“My father was a scholar, teacher and monk in Cambodia and taught me the value of language, learning and history,” Thanh said in a release. “I see the need of the students to have materials available in their families’ first language — these materials build bonds between children and parents, preserve cultural heritage and knowledge, and support English language acquisition.”

The Helen Fuller Cultural Carrousel, the Friends of the Long Beach Public Library, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, the city of Long Beach and the local Cambodian community are all helping make the trip possible.

The Helen Fuller Cultural Carrousel will pay for Taylor’s and Thanh’s travel, lodging and miscellaneous expenses. The city of Long Beach will provide money to purchase the new Khmer materials (as part of the library’s general operating budget). The LBPLF will pay for Thanh’s homework helper position.

The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library and members of the local Cambodian community will help offset some of the travel costs and provide other in-kind support.

Cambodia by the book
12/30/2007By Kelly Puente, Staff writerLong Beach Press Telegram (California, USA)LONG BEACH - Mark Twain Library staff members Susan Taylor and Lyda Thanh were on a mission to buy more than 1,000 books in the Khmer language.
Sue Taylor, library supervisor at Mark Twain Library in Long Beach, above left, and Lyda Thanh, a library homework helper who speaks, reads and writes Khmer, prepare for their January trip to Cambodia to purchase books for the library s large Khmer collection. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)Sue Taylor, a library supervisor at Mark Twain Library, displays a book in Khmer. The library hopes to enlarge and update its Khmer-language collection. Long Beach is home to one of the world s largest Cambodian populations outside of Cambodia. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

COMMUNITY: Grants to finance library's search for, purchase of Khmer-language works. They scoured Long Beach's Cambodian markets, searched through Khmer Web sites and even called a publishing company in Cambodia."We tried everything," said Taylor, a library supervisor who began planning the project two years ago. "But all the Cambodian shops in Long Beach hadn't gotten anything new in the last five years. We'd exercised all our resources."The women discovered that the only way to find such a large quantity and variety of material was to travel to Cambodia and buy the books themselves.On Wednesday, Taylor and Thanh will fly to Cambodia with a $20,000 grant to replenish the library's aging collection of books in Khmer, the country's official language.Over the next two weeks, they will visit more than two dozen bookstores in the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.Thanh, a homework helper in the library, speaks, reads and writes Khmer and will act as the purchaser. For the past seven years, she has been responsible for cataloguing all the Cambodian books at Mark Twain.Thanh plans to have the new books catalogued and ready by Cambodian New Year in April."It's going to be a lot of work but it will be so rewarding," said Thanh, 26, whose father was a Cambodian monk and scholar.'A mega display'Long Beach is home to one of the world's largest populations of Cambodians outside of Cambodia.Mark Twain, at 1401 Anaheim St., sits in the heart of the city's newly designated "Cambodia Town," a stretch of restaurants and shops along Anaheim between Junipero and Atlantic Avenues."With the new Cambodia Town, the spotlight is going to be on us," said Taylor, an employee of the Long Beach Public Library system for 40 years. "Why can't Long Beach be the premier place for Cambodian books in the U.S.?"Mark Twain, with 1,094 Khmer books, already has one of the largest collections of Cambodian material in the state. The library is hoping to double that collection."We want to have a mega display," Taylor said.The trip was made possible through grant money set aside five years ago when the city was planning the new Mark Twain Library, Taylor said. The Helen Fuller Cultural Carrousel, a committee of the Friends of Long Beach Public Library, will cover all the travel expenses.Interest surgesSince its grand opening in August, Mark Twain, the city's first new library in more than three decades, has had 2,222 new library card holders, Taylor said.The library has also seen a surge in circulation of Cambodian material.But many of the books are damaged after years of use, she said. The library has not purchased any new Cambodian books in the last five years.Taylor and Thanh said they've carefully researched what books are in demand by looking through the library's computer system.Cambodian history, customs, culture, folklore and children's stories are top on the list, Taylor said. "But we'd also love to get books like Anne Frank and Harry Potter, if they have it," she said.Although they plan to buy mostly new material, they also hope to get some extra copies of old favorites.One of the library's most popular Cambodian books is a fairy tale called, "The Beast of BongBot Forest," which has been checked out 53 times over the last five years.Heavy loadLugging more than 1,000 books back to the U.S. will be a challenge, Taylor admits. The women plan to carry some on the plane and will possibly FedEx the rest.The women said the reaction from the Cambodian community has been that of pride and excitement."People keep coming in and asking, 'Have you gone yet?"' Taylor said.Thanh said the surge of books can help new Cambodian immigrants and will encourage young adults to get back in touch with their culture.Parents will now have more options to read to their children in Khmer, she said."It really bridges the gap between generations.", (562) 499-1305