Myanmar opens first mobile library

Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (3rd L) looks at books displayed on a mobile library bus during a ceremony to open the service in Kawhmu township

YANGON, Myanmar - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi launched Myanmar's first mobile library Saturday to highlight her policy of spreading education in the country.

"Now, it's only a bus with a room, but if our people use it correctly it may be great benefit for our country," Suu Kyi said at a ceremony in Kawhmu, 30 kilometres south-west of Yangon.

Myanmar has few libraries and its schools and universities have suffered from years of neglect and poor budgets. Suu Kyi has stressed the need to improve the education system stymied after five decades of military rule.

The 1991 Nobel peace laureate won a parliamentary seat in Kawhmu in the 2012 by-election after nearly 15 years under house arrest.

The Daw Khin Kyi Foundation in cooperation with the Education Ministry, with funding from local and foreign donors, bought a vehicle stocked with 1,500 books to take education to the countryside.

"As the first such project in Myanmar, we may face many challenges, but the main thing is to draw the public's attention to the need for reading," said Than Thaw Kaung, manager of the project.

Myanmar needs new libraries and to train more librarians, he said.

The foundation is working with Beyond Access, Asia Foundation and National Library of Singapore to promote libraries and reading in Myanmar. 

Sapa

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