Having enough space for reading and enjoying books is essential for our libraries. In this post, our Country Manager for Cambodia, Sokhan Khut writes about reorganizing the library in Siem Reap in order to make it a more pleasurable space for young people.
At Siem Reap, BOOKBRIDGE runs a library full of books and education material. Though we are very happy to offer so many different books, the space for actually reading and enjoying them has been very limited. Therefore, I decided to reorganize the library mainly by moving the shelves and arranging them in a better way.
Relocating the metal and wooden bookshelves was going to be a hard job. I was glad that I got help from 30 students and scouts from 10 January High School in Siem Reap. Within three days, we rearranged six metal, eight wooden and six plywood bookshelves with more than 10,000 books and our reading table plus 20 seats.
This is the new layout of the library: the library room (9.5 x 11.5 m) is divided into two main sections. The first section takes up almost two thirds of the northern library space. It is equipped with the reading table and 20 seats placed in the middle of the section and parallel to the library wall. A mobile whiteboard for our courses will be set up at one of the edges of the table allowing for up to 20 participants. On the eastern side of the table we put three rows of bookshelves. These bookshelves mainly display our Khmer textbooks and English books donated by different donors.
On the western side, two small and four big metal bookshelves were located in five parallel rows running perpendicular to the reading table leaving space for walking between them. This side is suited for displaying books donated by BOOKBRIDGE.
The second section covers the rest of the southern library space. It consists of two librarian desks, four wooden shelves and a free area covered with a 4.8 x 3.6 m colorful floor ‘puzzle’. This space serves as a safe and comfortable place for visitors, mainly children to sit on the floor, enjoy books and play games. We use it as well for different activities.
With this rearrangement, the library is not a place anymore where you borrow books. It has become a small world of letters and stories where children and young people can discover new things, share them, play together and participate in different activities.