Feeding a need to read

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Singer-songwriter Gao Xiaosong (right), writer Ye Zhaoyan (middle) and designer Demos Chiang speak at the opening ceremony of the second Xiaosong Library in Nanjing on Nov 11. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Following the success of his first nonprofit library in Hangzhou, singer-songwriter Gao Xiaosong is opening a second reading room in Nanjing, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

Nanjing in Jiangsu province, a city with a history dating back more than 2,000 years and the ancient capital of six dynasties, was named a City of Literature by UNESCO at the end of last month-the first city in China to be awarded the title.

On Nov 11, a new library opened at the foot of Nanjing's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) city walls that have witnessed the passing of centuries.

Xiaosong Library is the second nonprofit reading room set up and curated by singer-songwriter and talk show host Gao Xiaosong. Like the first library opened last year in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, the Nanjing outlet and its collection of 40,000 books are free to the public. To ensure a peaceful reading experience, 500 admissions are allowed each day via online appointment.

Xiaosong Library in Nanjing has a picture book space for children.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The first Xiaosong Library in Hangzhou's Liangzhu Center of Arts, which was designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, has been a runaway success that often saw appointments booked out weeks in advance.

At the opening ceremony for the Nanjing library, Gao says while he only plans to open around six Xiaosong libraries nationwide, opening one in the city was a must: "It is not that Nanjing needs me or the library, but I need Nanjing. I need the library. It's my dream.

"Just like growing vegetables, you need to plant them in a piece of fertile soil suitable for farming. Libraries should be established where many scholars reside. Nanjing is this kind of city, with its humanistic outlook and artistic temperament."

The library was transformed from a former printworks by designer Demos Chiang, who incorporated elements from the city walls into his design: "The city walls were built up layer by layer over time, just like history, culture, philosophy, art, music and film."

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