Vietnamese Language Blog

A Trip to the Library Posted by on Sep 7, 2021 in Culture, Vocabulary

Image taken and used with permission from Kandle Dart

Did you know that September is “National Library Card Sign-up Month”? Time to get your thẻ thư viện (library card) if you don’t have one. We are all familiar with thư viện (library) since we were young because in the United States, whether big or small, there are libraries in every school, university, city, etc.

When you have a chance to visit Washington D.C, don’t forget to make a trip to the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. Even if you are not interested in sách (books), it’s worth a tour due to its beautiful European Renaissance architecture with lots of marble and granite stone work. I went there and even got myself a thẻ thư viện. It’s a shame that I didn’t stay long in the area to utilize the card to my advantage. I haven’t been in many libraries, but of all the ones I have visited, the Library of Congress is the most beautiful one to me.

The year before the pandemic, during a road trip through New England, I had a chance to take a quick walk inside the Yale University Library in New Haven, Connecticut. The architecture is Gothic style, reminiscent of a European Cathedral with many stained-glass windows.  It would be great if I could visit all the other old library buildings in the United States just to enjoy their architectural design. Honestly, I’m not an avid reader, I’m more interested in the history, design, and the ambience of libraries.

Last June, I got a chance to tour the Central Los Angeles Public Library (thư viện công cộng) in southern California. I knew it to be a big thư viện but, I didn’t realize it was ranked in the top 5 largest thư viện công cộng in the United States by total collections. Completely different than the Library of Congress and Yale University Library, the architecture & design of this building is from the Art Deco era. What impressed me the most here is the beautiful rotunda, the children’s puppet theater, and couple aisles of Vietnamese literature in Vietnamese.

Talking about Thư Viện Quốc Gia (National Library) in Vietnam, don’t confuse the Thư Viện Quốc Gia Việt Nam (National Library of Vietnam) in Nội with the old Thư Viện Quốc Gia of South Vietnam in Sài Gòn which had its name changed to Thư Viện Khoa Học Tổng Hợp Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (General Sciences Library of Ho Chi Minh City) in 1978.

Below is some vocabulary related to the library topic.

Vietnamese English
Thẻ thư viện Library card
Sách Book
Con mọt sách Bookworm
Bạn đọc Reader
Mục lục Index
Tài liệu Document
Dịch vụ Service
Thư mục Directory
Nhân viên thư viện Librarian
Bàn tra cứu thông tin Information desk
Tự điển Dictionary
Tác giả Author
Tên sách Title
Tiểu thuyết Novel
Sách giáo khoa Textbook
Tiệm sách Bookstore

If you are interested in learning a foreign language, specifically Vietnamese, check out Transparent Language Online at the library near you. In this digital era, you can check out many digital and audio books from your own home, without going to the library. How convenient is that!

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