Thailand To Open a New Library in Bangkok, Honoring the Late King Bhumibol

In News by Dennis Abrams4 Comments

In remembrance of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s avid engagement in a literary life, Bangkok is creating a new city library for young readers and adults.

A tuk-tuk at a street market in Bangkok. Image – iStockphoto: Ermakova Elena

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
‘One of the Basic Rights
As reported by Supoj Wancharoen at The Bangkok Post, the memory of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej has inspired a “grand Bangkok project to inspire a new generation of bookworms.”

The goal of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) project is to create a new city library in the late monarch’s honor by converting an existing structure.

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in October at age 88. CC-BY-2.0

Bhumibol is known to have written and/or translated some 17 titles during his life, and was an avid reader and promoter of literature as a way of enriching and preserving the language.

The project, situated on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue, is part of a campaign to advertise Bangkok as a City of Learning, one that promotes a culture of reading. The initiative actually was launched in 2013, when Bangkok was named by UNESCO as a World Book Capital.

With the library’s launch scheduled for next month, BMA officials say they hope that the library’s prime location—accessible to both car and public transportation, and “just a stone’s throw from Khao San Road, the capital’s backpacker hub,” as Wancharoen writes—will encourage students to use the facility for work and research.

The mezzanine is to feature a children’s section of books, along with “interactive learning materials and games based on the work the late king pioneered, such as his bio-diesel scheme and waste-water management system.”

On the second floor, visitors will find, along with selections of international literature, reference books, and rare publications, a feature looking at the celebrations held to “mark the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne in 2006 when members of almost every royal family in the world gathered in Bangkok to congratulate him.”

The third floor is expected to let visitors learn about projects led by Bhumibol as well as a collection of his “achievements in nine different areas: city planning, transportation, environment, culture, the public’s safety, medical issues, economic issues and livelihood, education, and collaboration among state agencies.”

As local businessman Boonchai Cheauchanwong tells Wancharoen, “I’m looking forward to the modern public library. It will help children learn, and benefit our entire city. Access to facilities including a public library is one of the basic rights city residents deserve, courtesy of the government.”


The full report by Supoj Wancharoen at The Bangkok Times is here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.

Comments

  1. If the BMA wishes to promote Bangkok as a City of Learning, I do hope the library will feature a world class selection of books covering all branches of studies including vast knowledge of Buddhism. I believe this will become a landmark for book lovers to learn about all aspects about the country, the world, technologies and literature. As a Thai, I pay taxes and if my tax income, albeit small, became part of the funds for building this library, I hope it will be built to enrich the knowledge of ordinary people for the major benefit of all Thais and not to glorify merely great personalities. The country and people need to live both in the past, present and future to progress meaningfully. The immediate governor is noble. Although Thais respect the nobility, the major space of this kind of public library should be devoted mainly to benefit and accommodate general people as best as possible.

  2. wondering if they will have a copy of the US bill of rights in this edifice – you know, the one with all that pesky free speech biz in it. the king was a good man – i worked at the hospital where he was born in cambridge. to say otherwise, in the land he ruled, means certain jail time. thanks for the news, which i wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. (former bookseller in thailand.)

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