Many people call Pham The Cuong ‘the bookworm’ or ‘book addict’ for his passion for reading, collecting books, and his efforts to build a ‘reading culture’ within the community, especially in the younger generation.
Pham The Cuong is owner of the ‘Pham The Cuong Family Library’ located on 282 Street No. 8 in Ward 11 in Go Vap District in Ho Chi Minh City.
Talking about his journey to collect books, Cuong recalls that in the early 60’s when he was living in Hanoi, his father presented him with a book titled ‘Without Family’, a famous literary work by French writer Hector Malott, as a birthday present.
He found the novel extremely interesting and although at that time he could not grab the full meaning of the book, he developed his passion for books and became a reading addict from then on.
At that time he was only 15-years-old, but he managed to begin collecting hundreds of books on various subjects.
By 1982 when Cuong settled down in Ho Chi Minh City his library contained approximately 1,000 books.
More than 30 years later in HCMC, his reading habit as well as the book collection have nurtured.
Today in his book collection he has more than 20,000 titles, and his friends and relatives refer to him as the ‘bookworm’.
In 2002, after he retired, Cuong began taking part in local social work. As a war veteran, and now as a Party unit secretary in his neighborhood, Cuong started thinking about popularizing the ‘book store’ which he had preserved and cherished for decades.
|Pham The Cuong ( in white T - shirt ) with young readers at his family library.( photo SGGP )|
Not long after, with the family's support and the encouragement of friends, Cuong managed to turn the idea of a library at home into a reality.
On the birth anniversary of Uncle Ho on May 19, 2005, the ‘Pham The Cuong Family Library’ was officially inaugurated.
In the early years, the library primarily served children and students.
Now, after nearly eight years, the library welcomes hundreds of young readers, students, teenagers, pupils and even some literary researchers.
Every month Cuong spends VND3-4 million to buy new books to add to the collection.
The library organizes mini seminars on important dates and birth anniversaries of writers such as Nam Cao, Son Nam, Nguyen Huy Tuong.
Cuong has sometimes invited a number of outstanding writers, authors to come to his library and exchanged ideas with readers.