Visitor numbers to the Vientiane Library have declined because a majority of people are obtaining information from other sources like the internet, officials claim.
Even though increasing numbers of students consistently visit the library each year between September and November, the overall number of visitors continues to decline.
Director of the Vientiane Library, Mr Keovilaisak Seansakda, says the Vientiane Library plays an important role in preserving and collecting both Lao and foreign materials about Laos, and therefore remains an important source of information for students and researchers alike.
He said from 2013 to 2016, the visitor numbers dramatically declined because more people are looking for information online.
The library had 42,000 visitors in 2014, 31,000 visitors in 2015, and only 13,000 in 2016. Some 80 percent of the visitors are students in Vientiane, he said.
He explained the library now has over 20,000 books and the library is currently running programmes to entice more visitors to come and utilise the facilities; the programmes include Lao Stories for Children and Lao History.
The library used to consistently receive a steady stream of new books, but in recent years the number of books has also declined. However, NGOs continue to be an important source of book donations.
We welcome any support from interested sponsors who would like to provide books relating to the ASEAN region, the social sciences or Laos, because we want to broaden people’s knowledge of the country and the regional bloc, he added.
Indicative of the crisis that currently afflicts the library, a student from a secondary school who attended the event, Ms Monta, said, I think the library lacks sufficient information on ASEAN nations and other important historical and sociological topics overall. Instead of coming here to conduct research, my friends and I agree we can find all of the information we require on the internet and from television.
Source: Vientiane Times