Books for Asia in Vietnam
The Asia Foundation began its Books for Asia program in Vietnam in 1993 with the goal of improving human resource development through increased access to English-language teaching and research materials. There is no program comparable to Books for Asia in Vietnam, and its success in delivering more than 350,000 books throughout the country since its inception is a testament to the effective long-term partnership between The Asia Foundation and its partner, the National Library of Vietnam.
Status of Education in Vietnam
Vietnam's extraordinary literacy rate (93.9 percent for men, 86.0 percent for women) exemplifies a culture with traditional high regard for education as well as political leadership with a longstanding commitment to education for the largest number of its citizens. Vietnam's rapid economic growth and greater global integration in the past two decades have sparked strong public demand for English language training, more dynamic teaching methodologies, and the latest scientific knowledge. More effective education and training is one of Vietnam's top priorities if the country is to sustain its remarkable economic growth and social transformation. The Foundation's Books for Asia program contributes to this important endeavor.
In Vietnam, Books for Asia distributes more than 30,000 new books donated by American publishers each year to 120 recipient institutions in 35 cities and provinces throughout the country. Beneficiaries include thousands of Vietnamese university students at 67 recipient universities. At the Hanoi National University School of Business, for example, high quality business and economics texts donated by Books for Asia make up more than 75 percent of the library collection, and are used as classroom texts in economics, finance, and accounting classes.
Books also reach the broader public through substantial donations to the National Library and to eight provincial library Reading Rooms, established with Asia Foundation support. Surveys show an average of 300 visitors come to these reading rooms every day. An additional 23 municipal and provincial libraries also receive Books for Asia materials. At national and provincial libraries, special collections of books on US history, culture, and politics, and supporting activities such as storytelling and trivia contests, promote better understanding of the United States among Vietnamese, as well as celebrating the joys of reading and public libraries' special role in the communities in which they serve.
Project and Partner Highlights
National Library of Vietnam. The National Library is Books for Asia’s local counterpart. In this role, the National Library will expand its collection of English-language books, provide public access to these books, and cooperate with the Foundation in distributing books to other Vietnamese libraries, most notably public provincial libraries and university libraries throughout Vietnam. It provides staff to work with the Foundation's Hanoi office in managing donations and distributing books, supplies warehousing, and clears the books through Customs.
Strengthening library capacity. Through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Asia Foundation works with Vietnamese institutions to strengthen the capacity of public library institutions to create a more welcoming and accessible library environment in selected pilot sites, and to promote public access to computers and the Internet through mass media, public campaigns, and community events.
Major publisher donors: McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons, Lynne Rienner, W.W. Norton & Company, Scholastic, and Island Press
Dinh Kieu Nhung
Office Manager/Books for Asia Officer
The Asia Foundation
#10-03 Prime Centre
53 Quang Trung Street
Tel: (84-4) 3943-3263
Fax: (84-4) 3943-3257