The Long Beach Public Library is sending two staffers to Cambodia this weekend. Once there, they'll purchase 1,000 books to satisfy the reading needs of Cambodian patrons.
Library Services Director Glenda Williams said her staff looked for books online. “Books written in their script in the Khmer language - are not available in the quantity nor the quality that we need,” she said as she prepared for the 17-hour flight.
Her book shopping list includes children’s books, adult fiction by Cambodian authors, books on health, martial arts, and marriage customs. “We’re also going for bilingual material in English and Khmer,” she said.
Staff at the Mark Twain branch in the city’s largely Cambodian neighborhood said books in Khmer – pronounced k'may – as Cambodia’s language is called, are in such demand that many are in tatters.