The National Library of China.



A network of libraries has been formed nationwide, including public libraries, university or college libraries, scientific research institution libraries or reading rooms, trade union libraries, and those attached to government organizations, army units, primary or secondary schools, townships, enterprises, and local communities. At the end of 1999, China had 2,769 public libraries above the county level, over 1,100 university or college libraries, more than 8,000 medium-or large-scale scientific research institution libraries, and many primary and secondary school libraries and trade union libraries as well. The National Library of China is the largest library in Asia.

In the past few years, the conditions of China’s libraries have been greatly improved. Many libraries have been built or extended, and others are to be rebuilt. Modern science and technology, such as computers, microfiche, reading machines, duplicators and audio-visual aids are now available in some libraries. As places for collecting, sorting, storing and transmitting documentary information, libraries are increasingly playing an important role in China’s socialist construction. Libraries at all levels have prolonged opening hours, adopted the open-shelf policy, increased the numbers of reading desks, expanded the range of reading, and simplified check-out formalities. Exhibitions, reports, knowledge contests, direct mail, subscription, and home-delivery service are used to publicize and introduce library materials, and raise the circulation rate of books and magazines. These efforts are backed up by follow-up services, services on special topics, manuscript editing, source indexing, information desks, and technology market participation. In addition, the regular and spare-time education of library science is developing vigorously, producing more librarians and library researchers. The China Society of Library Science, which was set up in 1979, and societies of library science established later in different regions, have done a great deal to improve research into the theory and practice of library science. Moreover, libraries have markedly developed exchanges with their counterparts abroad in recent years.

In April 2000, the “China Digital Library” project entered its all-out construction phase. The project will witness the establishment of its structure, the drafting of a plan for its implementation, research into the norms and applications concerning the digital library and into the construction of digital library resources, study of intellectual property rights and key technical problems during the construction of the digital library, and the construction of a sample digital library.



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Last updated: 2000-07-13.