Luang Prabang Public Library - a great way to give back in Laos
While exploring Luang Prabang, Laos, don’t overlook the unassuming Luang Prabang Public Library. The library is much more than just a place to borrow books; in fact, it’s a great organization that encourages literacy and education throughout Laos. Be sure to include a visit to the Luang Prabang Public Library, which is located nearby to the old Royal Palace and the Haw Phra Bang.
There’s a small shop at the library where visitors can buy books - new and used. Many are about Laos, but there are plenty of new and used books on a wide variety of subjects in many languages (mainly English and French). You can also buy souvenirs and traditional Lao handicrafts. The cool thing is that proceeds from buying a book or souvenir goes to funding the library’s literacy efforts. Additionally, visitors can make a small donation. Just $2 can buy books for the “library boat”, which travels along the rivers of the country bringing books to remote and otherwise inaccessible locations.
As an English teacher, I believe that literacy and education are so important. Laos has had a painful and difficult history, but through education, hopefully the country will continue to develop and grow. Even if you don’t want to buy anything at the library, I suggest at least looking around and learning a little bit about the programs that the library sponsors to help rural kids throughout Laos learn how to read.
And, why not take home a souvenir that goes directly to promoting one of the worthiest causes - education.