The National Library, which has been closed since July 2002 when a section of the roof collapsed, will officially reopen in early next year, the library’s director said Sunday.
“The library will reopen for all scholars and students early in 2004 because I need at least three months more to clean the bookshelves and prepare the books on the shelves,” National Library Director Khlot Vibolla said.
The library’s roof has been repaired and painted white and yellow, and the plastic sheeting has been removed from the bookshelves, which were draped for the last 14 months. The libraries’ toilets have also undergone a much-needed repair.
On Saturday, a few construction workers cleaned the library’s floors of some remaining pieces of paint, while a few others swept away dust and debris from a family of sparrows living on the ceiling.
The Ministry of Finance, located next to the library, has pledged $100,000 for the renovation.
“I have been prevented from researching information through the National Library for almost a year,” said Long Visal, a history student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh who was at the library Saturday evening with his friends. He said he was enthusiastic for the reopening.
Meanwhile, Khlot Vibolla, who has continued working at the building since the day the roof collapsed, said the library’s staff have tried their best to clean the entire facility.
Since the renovation began in July, the usual 70 to 80 daily visitors stopped coming because the books were packaged in plastic bags to protect them from the paint and other renovations, Khlot Vibolla said.
“I hope the library will reopen as soon as possible,” she added. “The library is a place for gathering all the documents which are most needed by scholars and other researchers for their works.”