National Library of China

National Library of ChinaNational Library of China, or library of Beijing, grows out of the Metropolitan Library of Peking founded at the end of the Qing Dynasty, which was officially opened in 1912, and closed on May lst, 1987. In March, 1975, under a proposal by the late Premier Zhou Enlai, the State Council agreed to construct a new library building. Construction began in 1983 and was finished in May, 1987. It began its operation in October of the same year.
The library is located north of Purple Bamboo Park in Haidian District in the Capital City. Bestowed with convenient communications and peaceful surroundings, the library covers an area of 7.4 hectares (18. 5 acres), with 140,000 square metres of floor space. Including the branch library on Wenjin Street, near the Beihai Park; the Nation-al Library of China now has a total floor space of 170,000 square metres, a shelf capacity of 20 million volumes, 30-odd reading rooms, and more than 3,000 seats. It is a comprehensive research library with a national general repository of publications.

The library now has more than 13 million books and a staff of more than 1,600. It is equipped with modern facilities such as large-scale computers, book-periodical transmission apparatus, microphoto duplicators, and carrier document reading devices.

The library was opened to the public in October, 1987. The hours are from 8 am to 8 pm, but the library is not open to the public on Saturdays.

About half of the reading rooms provide open-access service, guaranteeing more convenience for readers. In the Chinese-language reading room, for instance, readers can meander between shelves, looking for their favourite books. The library has consultative service desks in some of the reading rooms to answer readers inquiries on the spot. It also provides information service by telephone or by mail. On the first floor, there is a restaurant for readers.

The National Library of China mainly caters to central leading organizations of the Party, government, army, key scientific research institutions and production units. It also opens reading rooms covering certain fields, to the general public, including one exclusively providing books from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Each day hundreds of people come to get library cards. Some-times there is a long queue snaking through the library. .
In-library cards are available to any college student. In contrast, the old library provided only grade-four college students and above with cards. People from outside Beijing can have access by showing their credentials.

Out-lending library cards are to be provided every May beginning in 1988 to scientific researchers, professors and teachers who hold the higher specialized positions, as well as organizations or institutions. With tae cards they can borrow books from the lending stack and basics tack rooms.
Foreign readers can also use the library after going through certain procedure. With in-library cards they can read in almost all the reading rooms. But out-lending cards only go to envoys, counselor sand heads of diplomatic missions to China, including the chief representatives of the United Nations and its specialized offices stationed in China. .
Embassies along with the United Nations and its specialized offices located in Beijing can apply to the library for out-lending cards. According to regulations, an individual out-lending card holder can borrow three Chinese books and five foreign books at a time, and cardholders from organizations can borrow 10 Chinese books and 15 foreign books.

According to agreements signed with foreign countries, the National Library of China will-exchange books and periodicals with more than 1, 600 libraries and academic research institutions in over 100countries, including Great Britain, Australia, and Japan.
National Library of China, the largest of its kind in Asia, was in full operation by May 1988. Nowadays, the library is capable of receiving 7,000 to 8,000 readers a day on the average.

The Metropolitan Library of Beijing was built on April 24, 1909. It was only after 1912 that it began to collect publications across the country and made itself known as a national library. After 1949, the library on the old site was expanded several times, but it could not keep up with increasing demands.

China / E.E.C. Symposium on Legal and Practical Aspects of In-vestment in China was held here in March 1989. Delegates from 18countries attended the symposium.

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