The Long Beach Public Library (LBPL) has added Khmer searching capability to its online catalog. With this new functionality, available through the online catalog at longbeach.gov/library, readers can search for authors, titles, or subjects in Khmer to find Khmer titles located in the Library.
“Long Beach is committed to equitable access to information and we are proud to make the Khmer Collection more visible and more available with this new feature,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “Now more than ever, it is important that Asian Americans throughout our community are seen and heard. Improving access to library materials in the Khmer language is just one way we recognize and acknowledge the decades of contributions of the Cambodian community in our great city.”
The Khmer search capability was funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant administered by the California State Library in 2018 and tested by United Cambodian Community.
LBPL has approximately 5,000 adult and children’s books combined. Previously, to find library books that are cataloged in another language (except Spanish), patrons had to search library catalogs in English first. With the new functionality, now readers can search Khmer literature directly.
“The Long Beach Public Library has the largest collection of Khmer-language materials in a public library in the United States,” Director of Library Services Glenda Williams said. “This added feature makes those books available to Khmer-readers, in the same manner that English language books are available to English readers. In addition, people can place holds on the Khmer material through the Library’s online catalog.”
Khmer is the official language of Cambodia and is the most commonly spoken language by people of Cambodian descent. Long Beach has one of the largest populations of Cambodians and Cambodian Americans in the United States. Many survivors of the Khmer Rouge fled Cambodia to the United States in the early 1980s, with a significant number of refugees settling in the city.