Century-old library keeps pace with time

By Bi Nan(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2017-05-24 15:46:13

A photo taken on May 18 shows a spacious reading space at the Haining Library, in Haining, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

The history of the Haining Library in Zhejiang province dates back to 1904, during the reign of Emperor Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was the first county-level public library in China, which has become known as "the most beautiful basic-level library" in the country.

Throughout its history, the Haining Library has been relocated and renovated several times. Now a brand new library, with an area of 19,900 square meters, opened at the beginning of 2015. The Haining Library has a total of 1.6 million volumes in store and, among them, more than 27,000 volumes are ancient books.

The library, open 365 days a year, has introduced modern facilities to the city, including multiple self-service book borrowing and returning machines, and a book disinfection machine to keep pace with modern times.

The Haining Library also features a fresh and warm atmosphere, with green plants on display, comfortable sofas to sit on, separate parent-child reading rooms and advanced audiovisual facilities available.

"The appearance of the library resembles two horizontal-placed large books," Lyu Guilan, the deputy curator of the Haining Library, said.

Self-service borrowing and returning book machines available in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

Aside from the main building, the library has three 24-hour self-service libraries, as well as nine book stations, 10 mobile libraries and an automobile library which travels around Haining city.

With the services available, members of the library are able to access books at any hour in the 24-hour self-service library by swiping their ID or library cards. So far, more than 2,300 volumes of books, covering all categories can be read either inside the self-service library or at their residential premises by borrowing from the automated machines. Members also have access to a machine for reading electronic books inside the library, and can scan the QR code to download or read books online.

Building a "reading city" has always been on the agenda for Haining, as the city has a long history, and brilliant culture since ancient times. Many celebrities were also born in Haining, which include poet Xu Zhimo, scholar Wang Guowei and novelist Jin Yong. Moreover, there are many historical sites in the city, which include the classical palatial architecture Sea God Temple.

Lyu Guilan, the deputy curator of the library, introduces a book disinfection machine in the library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

A reading room for children in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

A photo, taken on May 18, shows an open-air space located in the center of the Haining Library, in Haining city, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

A snapshot of a green corridor, built for the readers to rest their eyes, in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

A snapshot of a leisure area in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

An area for reading newspapers in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

An area, built for reading ancient books, in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

Another area, built for reading ancient books, in the Haining Library. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

A 24-hour self-service library is located at the Nanguanxiang historical and cultural street in Haining, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Bi Nan/chinadaily.com.cn]

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