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state library of queensland

"The library enriches my life" - Chan's SLQ Story

By Administrator | 26 August 2016

Meet Chan one of our regular visitors to State Library of Queensland.

Chan visiting Level 2

Chan visiting Level 2

My name is Chan, I’ve been in Australia for 31 years. I came here as a refugee from Khmer Rouge Cambodia which was a war torn country. There was hunger, war and everybody was dying. It took us about two nights and two days to walk to the border to Thailand. There the UN people sent the buses to pick us up and drive us to the refugees’ camp in Thailand. We were among the first to arrive at the camp and there was nothing. I still remember when we got out of the bus I was given a boiled egg, a mandarin and a bun.

The refugees’ camp was a safe environment, all the food was provided and I started school in the camp. I had to stay there for five and an half years for our application to be processed. When I came to Australia it was almost like heaven. There was the Cambodian Khmer community to help the new arrivals, and The Smith Family helped us a lot, giving us everything, from clothing to the fridge, the dinner table, and food vouchers as well. But after a while my parents said, "Ok, we can take care of ourselves now; we can go and help other people".

I’m from Sydney and I have a finance background with fifteen years of accounting experience. I first visited the Library in July 2016, initially to find some materials on Business Process and Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) after my contract has ended. I thought that being the State Library the resources were going to be quite good compared to the local council libraries, and here I found a good book on BPMN, even though I think there should be more material on the business process side of things.

Usually when you think of a library you think of a boring place, but this is not. I used to walk past the Library and I saw people here and I wondered why they weren’t in South Bank. But now I know: it’s a good place to study! After discovering that there are desks spaces, printing facilities, unlimited free WiFi internet and private study rooms which I can book, I started coming into the library every day. Sometime I booked the private study room so that I can make calls and look for work. I like the way the library is designed and the way the study desks and rooms are positions which allow plenty of natural light in. I also like the atmosphere in the library. Even though there are many people coming and going to me it’s not very distracting and I can still concentrate and enjoy the work I’m doing. For me human beings are not meant to be quiet. Quiet is for when you are dead! I like studying on Level 2 and have lunch on Level 1, in the balcony facing the City. Everything is quite good and I lose track of time when I’m here. So yes, the Library does enrich my life!

I don’t have any complaints. The library caters for everybody and in a way I wish I was younger and be studying here, because at Uni the library was so boring.

To tell us your SLQ story, visit our information desks or email:

As told to Fed Pani, Visitor Experience


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