13 village libraries to open next month

KUCHING: Thirteen village libraries will be in operation by end of next month, to become knowledge and social centres for the local communities, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said.

He said that under Federal Government funding, the projects included new buildings or renovation work, furniture and fittings, information communication technology (ICT) components, library collections and two staff to manage the libraries.

He added that 23 village libraries were established in Sarawak from 2005 to 2007, and they continuously received books from the National Library.

“Using Federal Government grant, 11 village libraries with ICT facilities were established together with three units of Multimedia Mobile Library for Kuching, Sarikei and Lawas,” he said when tabling the Sarawak State Library (Amendment) Bill 2009 at the state assembly here.

He said that over a hundred village libraries had benefitted from enhanced ICT facilities under a Universal Service Provision (USP) programme financed by the Federal Government to bridge the digital divide between the urban and non-urban areas.

“The project was implemented in four phases, which began in 2003 until 2006. To-date, there are 184 libraries in Sarawak which benefited from the ICT programme.”

Dr Chan said that as of Dec 31 last year, the state had 247 static and nine mobile libraries.

He reiterated that the Sarawak State Library (Amendment) Bill 2009 would further strengthen and upgrade the management of the Sarawak State Library in its function as a state library and state depository.

It was deemed appropriate to amend the relevant provisions in the Sarawak State Library Ordinance 1999 to put in place specific procedures to ensure proper preservation of the archives, he said.

The bill was later passed. — Bernama

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